The Home Garden
The garden should be near the house and away from trees. If it's some distance away from the house, it will not be as well looked after, nor will most use be made of vegetables grown. Vegetables near trees cannot get full sunshine; even more important, tree roots will rob them of water and fertilizer they need to do their best.
If you can, move the garden spot every 10 years or so to help keep down diseases. Proper rotation and use of disease-resistant varieties will help, but sooner or later the old garden spot becomes so full of various disease spores and nematodes that you cannot grow a good crop of many vegetables without use of special soil fumigants.
Soil should, of course, be well drained. Few vegetables can stand "wet feet." A sandy loam with a clay subsoil is best. Heavy clay soils may be made quite suitable by adding heavy quantities of stable manure or compost, or by turning under cover crops, preferably legumes such as vetch, clover soybeans.
Since the best quality quantity of vegetables cannot be duced on anything but a fertile soil, do whatever is needed to make it fertile.
Requirements for growth.
1. Proper degree of heat.
3. Oxygen in the air is essential for seed germination and good growth.
English peas, for example, will sprout when soil termperature is only a few degrees above freezing, while seed such as tomatoes will not germinate at all.
To start these tender vegetables for early crops, artificial heat, as in hotbeds, is needed. Otherwise, for early crops, buy plants from commercial growers, or from local growers who produce them with artificial heat. Tender vegetables that do not transplant such as melons, cucumbers, cantaloupes, and squash, should not be planted outdoors until soil has warmed up. These may, however, be started earlier in small pots in a hotbead.
To make the most out of your gardening efforts, take time to do some planning. Also keep a record of wheather you had too much or too little of certain vegatables at any time during the season for a continuous supply. Don't trust it all to memory.
Things to consider when planting.
1. How much of each vegetable to grow to supply your family needs.
2. Which vegetables are most need for good health.
3. How much extra to plant for storage
4. Which varities are best to plant.
5. When to plant for continuous growth and supply.
6. Which pesticides are best for control of insects and diseases.
7. Supplies needed such as, sprayers, dusters, tools, fertilizer, or mulching material.
Jotting this down on paper, plus any notes made during the season about special pest problems or how a new variety or practice turned out, will be valuable the next season when planning and planting time roll around.
About the Author: Lisa French webmaster and freelance writer for Decorating Country Home