It's Spring! Vegetable Gardening Outside the Lines

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It's Spring! Vegetable Gardening Outside the Lines

Post by tree68 on April 28th 2009, 7:11 pm

Vegetable Gardening Outside the Lines

Now that Spring planting season is upon is, it's time to plan
the vegetable garden. You may have already chosen what to plant
this year, but have you decided where to plant those vegetable
seeds and seedlings?

Traditionally a vegetable garden is planted in rows. When I
helped my mother plant the garden, we used string tied to stakes
to ensure that the rows would be nice and straight. One row for
beans, another row for peas, more rows for lettuce and tomato
plants. Each year, the garden looked pretty much the same.

The way I see it, a vegetable garden should be not only provide
a feast for the dinner table, but also a treat for the eyes and
an enjoyable place to spend an afternoon. A few changes in the
garden can make it far more visually interesting.

Instead of planting a row of lettuce, try planting lettuce in
one or more blocks. Start by preparing a seed bed, raking the
soil to break up any clumps. Next, scatter the lettuce seed across
the bed, then cover lightly with soil. As the lettuce sprouts,
any plants that are too close together can be thinned out and used
as baby greens for a salad. To make a lettuce bed even more
attractive, mix several varieties of lettuce seed together before
planting. A mixed bed of green leaf and red leaf lettuce is almost
too beautiful to eat.

Rather than making just one lettuce bed for the garden, make it
even more interesting by planting a triangular lettuce bed in each
corner of the garden. Wouldn't that be pretty!

Some crops, such as peas and beans, are more manageable if planted
in rows. But you can produce a larger crop if two rows are planted
closely together. Begin by making two shallow trenches for the
seeds, about six inches apart. Plant both rows at the same time,
but stagger the seeds within the rows.

You can also double-up with some crops. Plant pole bean seeds right
along with corn seeds, then plant squash or pumpkins between the rows. These crops grow well together, and were referred to by Native
Americans as the three sisters. The pole beans will climb up the
corn stalks, while the squash vines will sprawl amongst the plants.
The beans will help replace some of the nitrogen that corn plants
use so readily, and the squash vines will shade the earth and keep
down weeds. The prickly squash vines will also deter hungry raccoons
from stealing your sweet corn.

Onions and garlic make a great border around the edge of the garden
or around groups of plants. Add some flowering annuals here and there amongst the vegetable plants too. Not only will it make the garden more beautiful, but flowering plants will also attract beneficial
insects and pollinators to your garden. Mix it up a little and have
fun with your vegetable garden!

Have a great week!
-Mike McGroarty
(i wish it's spring again down under! aren't i greedy? i've had my turn!!! Shocked Laughing )

Posts : 390
Join date : 2008-01-17
Age : 79

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