Nothing can compare to the taste of fresh vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers or sweet peppers picked directly from the garden. Homeowners in Longmont who are unsure of the best ways to grow vegetables or wary of the amount of work it might take can nonetheless start a vegetable garden that provides nourishing produce by the end of the season.
Location is important
Location matters in real estate, and it matters in vegetable gardening as well. Most vegetables that bear fruit, such as tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers, require at least six hours of sunlight a day. The sunlight needs to be direct, rather than filtered through the branches of a tree. The more sunlight vegetables get, the larger and tastier they grow.
However, there are vegetables that can handle partial sunlight. Such plants as lettuce, cabbage or spinach can thrive in areas that don’t get full sunlight most of the day. Experts also recommend that some vegetables planted in hot climates, such as peas, be grown in partial shade even though planting instructions call for full sunlight. The hot sun in warmer climates can be too much for these plants.
Trees don’t just cause problems for vegetables due by limiting available sunlight. Their thirsty roots can also impact the growth of the vegetable plants by draining essential water. Tree roots general grow out from the tree twice the circumference of the tree’s canopy. The growth of vegetables planted within that area may be stunted.
Good soil is critical
The type of soil found in a typical Front Range yard generally isn’t ideal for growing vegetables, so a gardener needs to amend it. Clay soil doesn’t drain well, which hurts the growth of plant roots. Sandy soil, on the other hand, drains exceedingly well, leaving plants too dry. Soils are often either too acid or too alkaline or lack important nutrients such as sulfur or nitrates.
Determining what kind of soil is prevalent can be done fairly easily through a do-it-yourself test kit or with the help of a landscaping company or a county Cooperative Extension office. Composting is an excellent way to help fix deficiencies. Two inches of peat moss, material from a compost bin or rotted leaves worked into the soil will give vegetables a good start.
The vegetable garden layout matters
Vegetable gardening in a small space requires some rather innovative planting techniques. The traditional rows of plants won’t work as well for a smaller vegetable garden. The work required to keep the area free of weeds can become overwhelming. Experts recommend that gardeners lay out a vegetable garden in square blocks. Less space is needed between different types of vegetables, giving a gardener more options.
The spacing between the different plants of the same type of vegetable is also affected by block planting. Seed packets or planting guides will tell a gardener to allow two feet between rows of beans, for example. However, in block gardening plants can be spaced much closer together. Gardeners see a much greater harvest of vegetables with less maintenance needed.
The right varieties should be chosen
gardening experts and seed companies have spent years researching and perfecting different types of vegetable seeds. Vegetable varieties have been developed for size, taste, number of days to harvest or resistance to bugs and diseases. A gardener who takes some time to become familiar with the numerous varieties is more likely to choose the best ones. Good sources of information in addition to seed packets are experienced vegetable gardeners, lawn care companies or county Cooperative Extension offices.
Maintenance can’t be ignored
Once the vegetables are in the ground, beginning gardeners may think the work is done. That couldn’t be further from the truth, however. Maintenance is essential in growing a thriving vegetable garden that produces a good yield by the end of the growing season. Watering, weeding and pest control must be done regularly.
A Longmont vegetable garden has watering needs just as any lawn or flower garden does. In fact, it generally requires more water than either of these. A vegetable garden that doesn’t get the water it requires during hot summer days won’t produce as well and may die. Roots need to stay moist as much as possible but not saturated with water. An inch of water a week is ideal, but Front Range gardeners can’t count on all of that coming from rain. Vegetables need water consistently as well. Plants that go more than three days without water will start to show signs of drying out. A gardener needs to plan on regular watering as well.
For some reason, it seems that weeds grow much more quickly and vigorously than vegetables do. Weeds compete for sunlight, moisture and nutrients with the vegetables, and they win. It’s best to pull weeds as soon as they emerge from the soil. Mulch placed around vegetable plants can help keep weeds from growing. Products applied to the soil can also keep weeds from coming up.
Vegetable garden pests run the gamut from diseases to bugs and animals. Different types of bugs and diseases are known to affect various kinds of vegetables, so varieties have been developed that are resistant to them. Choosing these vegetable varieties will save a gardener a lot of effort and headaches during season. Maintaining healthy plants also helps keep bugs and diseases away, as does spraying with repellents if needed.
Animals are a different kind of problem. Deer, groundhogs, squirrels and rabbits in particular love to eat plants and vegetables just ready to harvest. Experts recommend fencing a vegetable garden when it’s first put into the ground. A three-foot uncovered fence will keep out most animals. However, if deer are a problem an eight-foot fence might be needed. A yard maintenance company can provide fencing materials and installation.
A landscaping company can put in a vegetable garden
Putting in a vegetable garden is a lot of work, but it does provide enjoyment for gardeners as well as some tasty results at harvest time. Homeowners who would like to have their own garden but just aren’t able to do the preparatory work due to time constraints or health issues can call on a Boulder landscaping contractor to plan and put in the vegetable garden for them.
A Boulder landscaping contractor can handle fall chores
Once a vegetable garden has finished producing its harvest for the year, some work will need to be done to prepare the bed for winter. Plants that are spent must be removed and compost should be spread over the soil to help replenish its nutrients for the upcoming growing season.
A lawn care company can handle the work of getting a vegetable bed ready for winter as well as other necessary fall chores. Feeding a lawn, pruning trees or shrubs and even gutter cleaning can be easily and efficiently completed by an experienced landscaping company. It’s a good idea to call on a reputable yard maintenance company to handle important fall clean-up needs.