It is funny how a much a garden can make you realize that nature has its own way of helping or hindering your master plan to grow your own vegetables! After a few years of practice, I have learned a few simple things that many gardeners before me have most likely long forgotten. I will pass some of them on here today. Feel free to comment or share some or your ideas as well.
- Of course plants need to be watered, some more than others. Herbs don’t need a lot of water. Tomatoes need to be planted in sunlight and watered when it’s cloudy since watering them when the hot sun is beating down will cause the blossoms to drop off. All plants should be watered before the leaves begin to droop.
- Plants will do best if they are well suited to your growing area. Take some time to read up and choose plants according to their sun and shade requirements.
- Watering in the early morning or late evening will provide more water to the ground with less evaporation. All plants have a tendency of being less shocked then if being watered in the heat of the day.
- Over watering is worse than under watering. It is easier to revive a dry plant than try to dry out drowned roots.
- Root vegetables, like carrots, beets, potatoes and radishes need room to grow downward. They can be planted at least 2 or 3 weeks earlier than the last expected frost. (Winnipeg typically June 1st)
- Starting beans or peas indoors to get a head start is not as good as starting tomatoes.I know ,I tried it and found that transplanting sets them off their cycle and will have less yield than if seeded directly.
- When growing squash, cucumbers or pumpkins, watch for the flowers that have started growing tiny gourds. Clip the growing end of the vine, so the plant concentrates its energy on growing pumpkins or squash, instead of growing an extra-long vine.
- Many types of tomato plants will grow tall then flop over. You can tie them to a stake to keep them upright, and ensure the branches stay upright and the tomatoes are not eaten by slugs. Use a q-tip or a small paint brush to pollinate the tomato flowers, if you haven’t noticed any insects pollinating the flowers.
- Put a mulch of grass clippings or peat moss around the base of your growing plants to keep their roots cool, and stop the weeds from growing.
- Onions are ready to harvest when the tops have fallen over. Let the soil dry out, harvest, and store in a warm, dry, dark place until the tops dry. Cut off the foliage down to an inch, then store in a cool, dry area.
- Garden vegetables that become over-ripe are an easy target for pests. Remove them as soon as possible to avoid detection.
- If it’s getting cold and you have tomatoes still green on the vine , pull the plants up and bring them inside to a warm dry place. Hang them up, and the tomatoes will ripen on the vine. Placing them in a brown paper bag will speed up the process even more.
- The best part is when you are ready to harvest! Pick your vegetables at peak maturity and or on the day you are planning to eat them.