Wednesday, February 15, 2017

TEN STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL VEGETABLE GARDEN

TEN STEPS TO A SUCCESSFUL VEGETABLE GARDEN It is that time of the year when people start thinking about vegetable gardening. The same basic steps are used no matter the size or shape of your garden. Step 1. Select a good location, in Eddy County that means a place without rocks if possible. You want an area with good sunlight and I like to have some afternoon shade just because it gets so hot. If you don’t have shade plant your taller crops like corn on the west side of the garden. Step 2. Plan your garden out. Planning ahead will help avoid problems and make your garden easier to work in. I recommend people keep a journal from year to year; this is true for farmers as well. Measure and write down the size of the garden and any containers you may plan on using. I am a visual person so I like to draw out my garden on paper. Decide what vegetables species you want to grow. Mark them out on the paper with room for the plant growth, especially vine plants like watermelons and squish. Step 3: Grow recommended varieties for Eddy County. The Extension office gives two publications away that you may want Circular 457, Gardening in New Mexico and Circular 457-B Growing zones and crop varieties for home vegetable garden. These are both available on line as well. Step 4: Obtain good seed, plants, equipment and supplies. I tell everyone but don’t always do it make a list with alternate varieties before you go shopping. Try not to impulse buy too much, but it is fun to experiment and try different item. Buy from reputable suppliers. Step 5: Prepare and care for the soil. The most important thing you can do to Eddy County Soil is add organic matter. Soil sample and fertilize at the correct abount. Step 6: Plant you vegetables at the correct time and at the correct spacing, usually it is on the seed package or our garden guide. Step 7: Irrigate with care. Rainfall is supplemental to irrigation in Eddy County. Because you planned out your garden you have plants with similar water need near each other. Step 8: Mulch and cultivate to control weed. Get the weed when they are small, the more you mulch the less you have to weed. Step 9: Be prepared for pest and problems, spend time out in your garden and observe, if you see an insects or plants in distress, find out what it is and why. Step 10: Harvest at peak quality, after all this work you do not what it to immature or to mature. For more details than I can write in this article see Circulars 457-A and B. Also I will be adding a few article as the growing season progresses. Eddy County Extension Service, New Mexico State University is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and educator. All programs are available to everyone regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. New Mexico State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Eddy County Government Cooperating

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