Top 10 Rules for Growing a Kitchen Garden
Growing fruits and vegetables isn't rocket science, but it does involve science. Here are easy tips to help ensure your success in growing food in the garden.
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Find the Sun
Build Up Your Soil
The foundation of a healthy, productive garden is a rich, well-draining, crumbly soil that has good tilth. Liberally add organic matter such as finished compost, bagged humus and straw.
Time Your Crops
Soil temperatures matter as much as air temperature when you're planting. Even peas, which are spring crops that are resistant to light frost once they're growing, won't germinate when the soil is below 39 degrees.
Have Cover at the Ready
Beware of a late frost, and have protection ready. A cloche works at protecting plants from frost in the same way as the cold frame. It can be anything from the traditional glass bell jar, a full cover with hoops or something as simple as a milk jug that has been cut in half. Simply place the cloche over the plant when frost threatens.
Mulch, Mulch, Mulch
You wouldn't think twice about mulching your ornamental beds, so do the same with your veggie and fruit plantings. A layer of organic mulch helps conserve moisture and suppress weeds.
Anticipate Animal Pests
Mingle Your Plants
Too much of the same kind of plant in a grouping sends "eat here" messages to bad bugs.
Stay On Top of the Harvest
Pick produce when it's ready. Removing beans as they mature allows more of the plant's energy to go into supporting the later fruit that forms.