Plan Now For Next Year’s Vegetable Garden

vegetable garden

Just when you’ve  gotten this year’s vegetable garden put away for the year, it’s time to start planning for next year’s garden. When you come to realize that the majority of Americans plan to engage in some form of gardening projects next year, it’s truly amazing. Just think about how many are pulled into the vegetable patch each year. MyWestTexas.com put out a recent article that I thought would provoke those of you who were going to hibernate for the winter and get you starting thinking about what you’ll do for next spring’s planting season.

Plan Now For Next Year’s Vegetable Garden

Planning a spring vegetable garden? According to the National Gardening Association, eight out of 10 Americans will engage in some

vegetable garden

Photo by audaxl c/o Photos.Com.

variety of gardening in 2013 whether it’s in the form of planting an extensive vegetable patch, forcing indoor bulbs or planting some color near the front door of your home. Don’t allow the cool temperatures and shorter days of fall to retire your thoughts from chores that can be done now to make a spring vegetable garden more successful.

Decide today which vegetables you want to have on your table next year and plan accordingly. Site selection is the first step in planning your garden. Chose a flat location that receives plenty of sunlight; most vegetables require six to eight hours. If the garden receives too much intense light you can always provide shade, but a site that is too shady can’t be corrected. High winds can really do a number on your vegetables, so chose a site that provides protection from our West Texas gusts.

The best vegetable garden is the one you plan well ahead of time and get everything ready for in advance. Remember to keep your garden plan in line with your ability to manage it. In fact, you could even plan for a denser garden within the same footprint by adopting some square-foot gardening techniques. Try something new you haven’t done before and just see how it goes. Then share it with us here.
Please leave a comment and let everyone know what you’re up to in the garden plot.
A vegetable garden in the beginning looks so promising and then after all little by little it grows nothing but vegetables, nothing, nothing but vegetables.   — Gertrude Stein

Fall Vegetable Gardening Tips

fall vegetable gardening

You might be tempted into thinking that the growing season is over now that it’s almost October, but there are still plenty of fall vegetable gardening activities to get going on. Besides cleanup, there are still plenty of crop varieties that can be planted and will yield a nice harvest later in the fall. These have to be cold tolerant plants that can take a bit of mild frost. Here is a short article by U. C. Master Gardener Jim Borland that appeared in the San Luis Obispo Tribune describing all the frenetic gardening activity going on this fall.

Fall Vegetable Gardening Tips

In your vegetable garden, pumpkins and winter squash should be harvested soon and moved into a cool, airy location where they can

fall vegetable gardening

Fall vegetable gardening brings the season to a close and gets the garden ready for next year. Photo by George Doyle c/o Photos.Com.

last for many months. From now on, regularly check your stored vegetable crops and remove anything showing signs of rot or damage to prevent the spread to healthy material.

You can plant hardy lettuce crops, spinach, onions, broccoli, beets, carrots and other winter vegetables. Don’t forget to aid next summer’s effort by making a note of what has been growing, and where, in your summer vegetable garden.

Fall vegetable gardening can be both fun and productive. Do make sure to mark what was growing where in your garden so you can plant something else there next spring. This will hopefully be a normal part of your crop succession plan so that your soil never gets depleted of nutrients because of over planting of one crop. Get out all the dead stuff and make sure you remove anything with disease or fungus and dispose of it separately. Make sure to harvest and store your produce properly (more on this in an upcoming post). You’ll find out that growing and harvesting vegetables in the fall greatly extends your growing season and maximizes the productivity of your garden.
Please leave a comment and share any gardening experiences with the rest of us here.
The day of fortune is like a harvest day, We must be busy when the corn is ripe.
                                                                 — Torquato Tasso

Does Vegetable Gardening Save Money?

vegetable gardening

Many folks start their own vegetable gardening efforts in an attempt to either get healthier or to save money. While it can probably be argued easily that the stuff you grow will most decidedly be fresher, and therefore healthier for you, than what you buy in the store, there are a lot of variables that determine if you’ll also save money doing it. Starting a vegetable garden and getting it established takes time, effort and money.  Here is a very short piece by Jenny Bardsley who wrote about her own experiences on this subject for the Herald Net.

Does Vegetable Gardening Save Money?

Here’s a picture of the harvest from our vegetable garden last Saturday. That’s almost $20 worth of organic vegetables pulled fromvegetable gardening our side-yard. So vegetable gardening must be saving our family a lot of money, right?

Read her entire post here at heraldnet.com:

Growing your own fresh organic produce by vegetable gardening in your backyard is probably going to make you feel better and, depending on how big it is, may even make you healthier because you got it at its freshest and most nutritious. But whether you save money doing it is debatable, certainly in the beginning anyway. Now, having said that, I by no means intend to discourage anyone from starting their own vegetable gardens. To the contrary — go forth and grow something. The exercise you get (just think of all those health club membership dollars you’re saving) and the pride of growing your own food (priceless) are worth quite a lot on their own. Spending money now on establishing and maintaining a family vegetable garden that, say, five years from now will have established itself reliably and has begun to pay back your initial investment is no different than taking vitamins and supplements to help prevent illness in the future. You either spend the money now for good nutritious food or you spend it later on medications and lots of doctor visits. There’s no free lunch any way you look at it.

Please leave your opinions and experiences below in a comment or two. Click on the like button and share with a friend.

Try the mustard, — a man can’t know what turnips are in perfection without mustard.  — Mark Twain

Heirloom Organic Vegetable Gardening Tips: Keep Your Seeds For Next Year

organic vegetable gardening

I think that one of the best aspects of organic vegetable gardening is your ability to propagate your vegetable plants each succeeding year. As long as you are using heirloom varieties and not the commercial hybridized seed varieties, you can isolate and preserve your seed stock for the next season. Once they’re dried, store them either in the refrigerator or some cool dry location away from light. The article here is more focused on flower seeds, but the principles apply. I’ll be setting up a static page here soon that covers this topic in detail for those of you who are interested. preserving our seed stock has become more important lately due to economic and climate factors that may make it necessary for many of us to depend on our vegetable gardens to grow more of our own food than ever before. Here is a short primer on seed preservation by Master Gardener Joe Lamp’l written for Scripps Howard News Service that recently appeared in Wicked Local Ashland.

Heirloom Organic Vegetable Gardening Tips: Keep Your Seeds For Next Year

One of fall’s most pleasant chores is collecting, drying and saving the seed from my favorite garden flowers and vegetables. It’s

organic vegetable gardening

Organic vegetable gardening heirloom plants allows saving seeds for next season. Photo by IT Stock Free c/o Photos.Com.

relaxing, and fills me with anticipation about next year’s garden even as this one is winding down. I also love to share seeds with other gardeners. This preserves and propagates favorite plants across the land — and propels them into the future.

You can collect most any seed, but I recommend starting with easy-to-save kinds like sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus), Zone 3-8, or hollyhock (Alcea rugosa), Zone 4-8, and those whose seed is expensive to buy commercially, like gerbera daisies (Gerbera jamesonii), Zone 8-10.

Hard-to-find seed like Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum biflorum), Zone 3-8, are good candidates, too. Collect from as many healthy, robust plants as you can. This helps preserve genetic diversity and reduces the chance for passing on undesirable traits such as susceptibility to disease.

It’s best to harvest from heirloom or open-pollinated plants — those propagated by wind, insects and other “natural” means — rather than hybrids.

Using organic vegetable gardening techniques you can very easily preserve and propagate your vegetable seeds for next year. There are methods for preparing your seeds for longer term storage, but I plan to cover that topic in a report that’ll be up in the near future. Try your hand at saving some seeds for next growing season. You can always start them indoors and see if they germinate before committing them to your vegetable garden in earnest.
Please share your thoughts and experiences here by leaving a comment below. Also, please click on the like button to share this idea with a like minded friend or relative.
The man who has nothing to boast of but his ancestors is like a potato – the only good belonging to him is under ground.  — Sir Thomas Overbury

Take Steps Now For Best Fall Vegetable Gardening Experience

fall vegetable gardening

For the best fall vegetable gardening experience this year, take steps early to grow vegetables that are appropriate for the late season. Certain crops are particularly suited to be planted in late summer or early fall and are usually always cold and frost tolerant. You can typically harvest them very late into the fall, some well into November. This piece written by master gardener Charlotte Glen for the Star News Online provides a great deal of guidance to beginner and experienced gardeners alike this fall planting season.

Take Steps Now For Best Fall Vegetable Gardening Experience

Don’t let limited garden space stop you from growing vegetables this fall. Many cool-season crops are easy to grow in containers

fall vegetable gardening

Vegetable gardening into the fall extends the growing season.

and now is the time to plant them.

Salad greens like lettuce, spinach, and arugula thrive even in shallow pots. They are often planted mixed together with herbs and other greens in bowl-shaped containers, providing all the ingredients you need for healthy, tasty salads in a single pot.

Supplies

You do not need a lot of supplies to start a salad bowl garden.

Start with the container, which does not have to be bowl-shaped. Rectangular window box containers and round pots work just as well. Containers of many types can be recycled for the purpose as long as they are at least six inches deep and have several drainage holes drilled into the bottom. I have even seen cardboard boxes used as planting containers for a single season. An old T-shirt can be wrapped around the outside of the box to help it hold together.

Next, you need potting soil. Most potting soils will work well, but avoid those that have a lot of bark. They are too coarse for smaller pots and will dry out too quickly.

If you are unsure of what to buy, choose a seed-starting mix. These mixes usually contain a combination of peat moss and vermiculite and are designed for use in shallow containers. There is no need to buy a soil that already contains fertilizer. In fact, it is usually better to add fertilizer separately.

Get the complete list for all of Charlotte’s fall gardening recommendations here at starnewsonline.com:

Late season vegetable gardening is something I am increasingly turning to in order to extend my growing season in the backyard. You can also use these techniques, with a little advanced planning, to help rotate your crops through your garden and thereby not deplete your soil of certain nutrients. Just go ahead and start some vegetable crops now and see what grows. You’ll have a significant amount of knowledge built up for next year by trying your hand at late season vegetable gardening this autumn.

Please share your experiences by leaving a comment below. What sorts of vegetable are you planting this fall? Click on the like button to share.

Weather means more when you have a garden. There’s nothing like listening to a shower and thinking how it is soaking in around your green beans.  –  Marcelene Cox

First Lady Michelle Obama: Vegetable Gardening For Health

vegetable gardening

First Lady Michelle Obama broke ground on the south lawn of the White House in 2009 to expand their kitchen garden. Endorsing vegetable gardening for better health and setting a positive example to help combat the rampant obesity epidemic in the U.S., the First Lady was assisted by students from the Bancroft Elementary School of Washington D.C.  The point of it was to help connect her family to the source of their food as well as to provide fresh produce for the First family’s table. An article by Julia Inslee for the Examiner provides some details and insight.

First Lady Michelle Obama: Vegetable Gardening For Health

In her speech at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday night, Michelle Obama proved to the country what a passionate,vegetable gardening loving, intelligent, and conscientious woman she is. She showed the nation that she not only cares deeply for her family, but for the citizens of this country. She has taken her duties as First Lady seriously by championing projects that will affect positive change in the personal lives of Americans. This is no more apparent than in her endeavor to create a White House Kitchen Garden on the lawn of the most iconic house in the country in order to model healthy living and eating habits to a nation of skyrocketing obesity.

Original article here at examiner.com:

Vegetable gardening connects us with the source of our food and links us more tightly to that which gives us life. Our food is more than just a collection of calories we ingest every day. Eating is a spiritual activity that is supposed to enhance our lives. Filling our faces with empty calories and junk detracts from our physical health and robs our spirit. Connecting our bodies with the earth through the foods we eat nourishes our physical bodies and our spiritual nature. Sharing this valuable connection with others through vegetable gardening connects us all together.

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It’s bizarre that the produce manager is more important to my children’s health than the pediatrician.         — Meryl Streep

Start A Fall Vegetable Garden

fall vegetable garden

When it comes to trying to start a fall vegetable garden, many beginning gardeners tend to have a few questions. Like, when should I start my plants, where can I start them, and how should I start them? Most vegetable crops that grow well in the fall when it’s cooler tend not to do so well when they’re just starting out in the full eat of summer. There are a few tricks to getting around that problem. Go ahead and pretend that it’s early spring and start them indoors. Why not! If the temperature isn’t right (too cold or too hot) just start them where they like it better and where you can control the growing conditions better. If inside isn’t going to work out, then work outside. Try getting them started in the shade of taller plants that are already established. Here’s a short (really short) take on the topic, as well as some other vegetable gardening tips, from Ellen Nibali written for the Baltimore Sun.

Start A Fall Vegetable Garden

One way is to start them indoors, even leaf crops like endive. A cool basement works well. When they’re a few inches tall, you’ll need

fall vegetable garden

Start a fall vegetable garden indoors. Photo by Comstock c/o Photos.Com.

to acclimate the transplants to sun and heat conditions before you put them in the ground. A good time to transplant them into the soil is when a few days of overcast weather are forecast.

You can also start fall veggies in your garden in the shade of taller vegetable plants that will be removed at the end of summer. If your fall vegetable choice tolerates some shade, then you can plant in a semi shade location. Mulch them to keep roots cool as well as moist.

Read the entire article here at baltimoresun.com:

Sure, it’s an adventure to start a fall vegetable garden. Why not get going now? You can have another wonderful crop of fall veggies all ready to eat by late October and even into November.

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Last night, there came a frost, which has done great damage to my garden…. It is sad that Nature will play such tricks on us poor mortals, inviting us with sunny smiles to confide in her, and then, when we are entirely within her power, striking us to the heart.

                                                                            — Nathaniel Hawthorne, The American Notebooks