The Beginning of a "Summer" Vegetable Garden:
The First Strawberry Blossom
The last of the "Winter" Vegetable Garden:
Six months ago I was an absolute gardening novice. I still am, but planting a "Winter" vegetable garden taught me the following very important gardening points:
1. Location, location, location: It should have been obvious, yet my Winter vegie patch was too shaded and didnt get enough sunlight and warmth on the rare days there was some. As such, the plants grew and developed painfully slow. However, the moment Winter started turning into Spring and the weather warmed the plants quickly tripled in size. But this too had it's downfall: most of the cabbage plants and all of the cauliflowers went straight to seed. They are now composting over in the new patch and make great worm food. In the Winter garden we have two cabbages that will hopefully be ready soon (if the bugs dont get to them first!), as well as a bunch of brown and red (Spanish) onions. The spinach is super tasty and we eat a lot of it; any excess we either give away or use as worm-food.
2. Adequately prepare the soil: Dont plant before you are ready! Turn the soil correctly and put through plenty of fertilizer; for the "Summer" garden we have used cow manure and pigeon poo and the plants have done wonderfully well. We left the manure a week before planting any seedlings.
3. Continue to fertilize: I've been using fish emulsion on the vegies every two to three weeks. In the past week alone the plants have doubled in size!
4. Keep the soil moist: Moist soil promotes many big, healthy earthworms. If you let the soil dry out, the earthworms will disappear, and you need worms to maintain healthy soil. You may have to use raised beds if your soil is sandy.
5. Mulch, mulch, mulch: Helps retain moisture, and as it breaks down provides the plants and worms with food and nutrients. Is especially important in the dryer climates.
6. Follow the moon: Plant with a new moon. The water is apparently closer to the surface during the first stages of the lunar cycle, and further away at the end. I've also been told that by planting with a new moon, the plants will be big and strong enough to use the light from the full-moon to photosynthesise at night. (Although, if that's untrue, please correct me!)
If you too have a vegetable garden and have experiences and tips to share, please do! It would be most appreciated.