The Gardener’s Corner

The Gardener’s Corner

How to plan a vegetable garden

Erik has some tips for a successful veggie season

I’d like to be perfectly honest with you; this week has been one of the first when I didn’t quite know what to write.

The reason behind this could be -20C.

This morning, I was delighted to find an email from a reader with a list of topics to which I will say a big thank you.

One question was: “When do you plan your vegetable garden?”

Before you start, here is something to consider. In my case, I usually get ideas from the previous year. The most important thought I will pass on is, don’t make it any bigger than you can manage.

If you make it too big to start with, it is easy to get discouraged, so start small.

So, where is the best area for a vegetable garden? Most of what we will grow requires the sun, except for rhubarb, which prefers some shade.

Suppose you want a tractor to do the first roto-tilling. If you’re breaking in new ground, a tractor might be a good option.

If you’re located in an area like me, you will be dealing with sand, stones and rocks, sometimes big ones. I am fortunate enough to own a roto-tiller that also loosens stones and rocks, which I have cleared away for many years, but many more still find the way up.

When I operated my gardening service, I used a utility trailer to remove refuse from the job sides. Most of the material went to the dump on my way home. It was here I started noticing the grass clippings and leaves deposit by homeowners. I then learned that you could help yourself.

To make a long story short, since 2003, I have taken home around 500 trailer loads of leaves and grass clippings to make compost. This is how anyone can make a good base for a vegetable garden and building up flowerbeds.

In the spring, I am roto-tilling the vegetable three times before planting. By that time, I have collected all the organic matter; I then do the last roto-tilling, and it is ready for planting.

Before you plant, purchase a soil testing kit and take some soil samples. Interpret soil analysis results for pH. If you don’t have the right numbers, your effort will not pay off.

I have a very detailed pH scale, which shows what different plants like.

If you want a copy, please send me a request by email.

If you have any questions or suggestions for topics, please email me: e.jacobsen85@yahoo.com

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