Dont Hate, Cultivate

This week we continue to focus on edible gardening. If there's one thing I know about spring fever, mulch and flowers aren't the only things on people's minds. The promise of juicy ripe tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, and salads straight from the garden sends our salivary glands into overdrive. Most of us approach the vegetable garden with such gusto, but as the season moves on our attention to our beloved garden seems to wane. The next thing you know you're spending your weekends on your hands and knees, pulling, digging, spraying, and cursing the day you ever planted this garden.  It doesn't have to be a battle. The garden can actually be quite relaxing, as well as a nice way to decompress after a long day at work. Today we'll give you a few tips that will hopefully make this year's vegetable garden more enjoyable as well as bountiful.

Raised Beds

If there is one thing that brought me back from the brink of never having a garden again, it is the raised planting bed.  Sure, tilling up a little plot of land in the back yard sounds great, but it's quite difficult to fully isolate that beautiful patch of garden from undesirable vegetation. Raised planter plans are readily available online, and while they are not maintenance free they give us greater control over our garden. With a raised planter we can manage our soil health, drainage, pest and weed control more effectively. 

 Raised planting beds constructed from 2x8 lumber 

Raised planting beds constructed from 2x8 lumber 

Create a Regimen

The title of this blog was inspired by my evening ritual in the spring and summer.  A little background on myself, I have been sidelined by an ankle injury and surgery for almost three months, so it is nice to finally get my hands back into the soil. That being said I enjoy tending to our garden, so much so that I have made it my evening ritual to spend fifteen minutes a day, give or take, tending to its needs. It typically includes cultivation, wiping out an infiltration of lambs quarters in the areas that have yet to be planted, and harvesting fresh radishes and spinach for the evenings supper. It's always beneficial for both me and the garden to spend time together.

 English breakfast radishes ready for harvesting

English breakfast radishes ready for harvesting

 

It Takes Time

Growing the biggest blemish free tomatoes or perfect squash takes time not only during the growing season, but also year after year. Studying what works well in certain areas, what critters decided you opened a buffet for them, and how much you need are all part of the process. One of the many things I've learned in my years of gardening is not to over plant. There is nothing worse than seeing cucumbers turn bleach white and bitter on the vine, or okra becoming so large and fibrous that it is only good for compost. Just think about all the space you'll have for new and exciting veggies and herbs if you grow only what you need.

Next week we will take a look at shade loving perennials and how to turn that dark boring corner of your landscape into an awesome display of foliage and flowers...