Gardening may be a gift because it is said that some have a green thumb, while others do not. However, to grow like horticulturists, gardeners and gardening professionals, one must begin by learning and practising. Start by planting vegetables while creating a beautiful vegetable garden. With a little patience, you will enjoy great vegetables after a few months.

Before you start sowing, planting and transplanting vegetables, you must acquire some basic tools such as a pitchfork, a rake, a spade, a hoe, a planter, a dibble and other utensils suitable for gardening. Since not all vegetables grow the same way, it is essential to know the different growing methods specific to each plant. There are many similar questions to be answered before planting each type of vegetable. Once the seedlings are planted and they reach a certain height, it is necessary to learn how to thin them before transplanting.

Sowing vegetables successfully

There are several steps to follow and which should not be overlooked if one hopes to achieve a good sowing successfully. First of all, it is best to stock up on good seeds obtained from a specialized store. There are three ways to sow vegetables. Flat sowing is the most commonly used method. It is the way to sow spinach, carrots, turnips, lamb’s lettuce, peas and sorrel. The ground must be carefully prepared and then scratched and raked. Once the seed bed is ready, make shallow furrows, of only a few inches in depth, on the previously drawn lines destined to receive the seeds. After sowing, just add a thin layer of soil and spread it with the back of a rake to cover the furrows. Young plants need light and air and require a lot of space to thrive. Depending on the type of vegetables to sow, some spacings must be respected along with distances between seedlings after thinning out. A garden is often equipped with a nursery which is a privileged place that is particularly sunny and well-sheltered. In that location, young seedlings grow with more ease and are better protected against bad weather. This small area allows one to plant a large number of seedlings which will later be transplanted elsewhere. You can use the nursery to sow onions in September and to begin the production of lettuce in spring. In regard to sheltered seedlings, they are plants sown under cold frames, in mini-greenhouses or under plastic tunnels.

Steps prior to planting vegetables

March is the ideal time for planting vegetables in the ground. The first tasks consist of preparing the ground well and making sure that each nursery bed does not exceed 3 feet (1m) wide. Beyond that width, it is difficult to maintain the vegetable garden properly and weeds will start growing rapidly. Plough each nursing bed with a fork-spade, proceeding carefully to protect useful fauna such as earthworms. Then, enrich the soil with fertilizer. If the soil is too sandy, you can stabilize it by incorporating white peat. If the soil is fairly compact, it is necessary to air it out with brown peat to allow irrigation water to seep in. Remove gravel, stones and weeds so that the nursery bed only contains crumbly earth. Pack down the soil and then rake its surface before proceeding with the sowing of seeds. As for planting itself, there are various techniques such as creating a slight planting slope against a low wall facing south. This method allows the seeds to benefit from plenty of sunshine in order form them to grow quickly. There is also the process of in-line sowing. Very common, it requires one to stretch cords at regular intervals along the length of each nursery bed before digging furrows in which the seeds will be sown. Once all the furrows are covered with earth, it is necessary to thoroughly water the nursery beds by ensuring that the seeds are not buried. Finally, the technique of planting multiple seeds per hole is only intended for planting large seeds, of which 4 or 5 will be included in each furrow. Each little seed cluster should be spaced about 16 inches (40 cm) before covering up the furrows in a manner similar to that used for in-line sowing.

How to single out and repot plantlets?

As its name suggests, singling out consists of separating the seedlings when they reach about an inch (3 cm). Usually at this stage, they start feeling cramped in the furrows. It is then appropriate to create regular intervals between plantlets and to remove the unnecessary seedlings. For leek, lamb’s lettuce, oyster plant, radishes and other vegetables the same size, professionals recommend a minimum distance of two fingers between seedlings while chervil, carrots, spinach, sorrel, yellow onion and others require a 3-finger space between plantlets. This distance will be increased to that of a hand for larger vegetables such as corn stalks and lettuce. Transplanting applies to seeds planted in nurseries that need to be replanted on large nursery beds while in full growth. These nursery beds will need to be previously cleaned out and enriched with fast-acting fertilizer. Young seedlings are removed with a fork-spade, taking care to carefully remove all of the earth clinging to the roots. The length of each plantlet, as well as that of their roots, will be cut in half before transplanting them, with the help of a dibble, in holes placed at regular intervals. Allow one hole per seedling and be sure to reseal them so as not to trap any air bubbles. Then dig another small hole 1.5 to 2 inches (4 to 5 cm) away from each seedling and pour in about a pint (50 cl) of water. Don’t forget to weed regularly for the vegetables to grow properly.

Related posts:

  1. Planting and maintaining peach trees
  2. Green vegetables
  3. Guidelines for planting and maintaining a spindle
  4. Summer vegetables
  5. Sowing successfully

Published in Gardening by Alexander on 07 Sep 2011