Gardening Tips for the Vegetable Grower

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As a gardener with twenty or so raised beds, I’ve learned a lot of gardening tips to help save time. I love working in my garden, but I also want to enjoy the space. I don’t always want to weed and water, but instead I spend my time watching hummingbirds, bees and butterflies, occasionally having a snack outdoors in the dining room, which we recently opened next to the garden – let’s talk about the garden at the table! That’s why I became an experienced gardener who knows that working smarter doesn’t mean working harder. Here are some of my top gardening tips to help save time.

1) sit on raised beds – raised beds have so many advantages; the soil warms up in early spring, they provide excellent drainage, they allow you to sit on areas with poor or rocky soil, they are convenient to use for seasonal add-ons, such as tunnels with mini hoops, and you can plant in them intensively, which means more food in a smaller space. Last spring, inspired by the Tara bestseller revolution with raised beds, I redesigned my entire garden and installed twenty new raised beds. (If you missed this post, catch up here.)

2) choose vegetables that are easy to grow – experienced growers know that some crops are more labor-intensive than others. For example, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower suffer from cabbage worms, while carrots-one of the most common vegetable crops–are notoriously difficult to germinate. Instead, choose vegetables that are easy to care for, such as string beans, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, potatoes and greens.

3) mulch – one of the reasons why my garden does not require special care is that I combine my raised beds with a layer of mulch; usually crushed leaves or straw. Mulch is added in after spring, after planting, and preferably also after rain. This helps to maintain soil moisture and reduces the need for water. In addition, mulch repels weeds – a win-win option!!

4) plant early – sometimes when I’m in a hurry with spring seedlings, I don’t move from my place to plant tomatoes right away. When I returned to the task, the plants began to grow and get tangled.

Oops! Lesson learned: A well-groomed garden saves precious time, looks well-groomed, gives healthier plants (since they do not lie on the ground where soil-borne ailments can spread) and allows you to harvest quickly and easily.. There’s no point trying to find tomatoes hidden under a mess of vines.

5) try perennial crops-among the easiest to grow food products there are those that return every year. Try growing perennial plants in and around your garden, such as rhubarb, sorrel, asparagus, lovage, “cosmic” cabbage or herbs such as thyme, sage and lemon balm. Or create a “perennial” garden for these hardy crops so that you don’t have to worry about accidentally damaging them when planting annual vegetables.

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