How My Garden Grows! Tips and Tricks for a Successful Vegetable Garden

 

Tips and Tricks for a Successful Vegetable GardenGardening, one of my fav past times.  I’ve been trying to perfect my garden for a while now, about three years, on and off.  I remember thinking it would be easy, “Oh, I’ll just throw some seeds into some soil, water and sunlight and we’ll be good to go!”  Yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh…. NO.  Boy, was I wrong.  Well, after 3 years of many failed attempts and many dead crops, my brown thumb has finally started to turn green.

Thankfully, I gave myself pep talks along the way, convincing myself that all of my failed experiments are lessons learned on what not to do.  For example:

  • Don’t throw an entire seed packet of tomato seeds into seed pots and expect them to grow properly.
  • Matter of fact, don’t put more than 2 or 3 seeds per hole and be prepared to pinch off (aka kill) the weakling plants.  (I had a hard time justifying why I should thin seedlings out…. silly I know, but I just feel awful pinching off something that has so much potential!)
  • You DON’T have to pinch off seedlings, you can transplant them safely, just try not to plant too many seedlings all at once or you’ll find yourself having to pinch them off because there are just too many.  You can plant 2 or 3 seeds in one small seedling pot and separate the seeds a bit, then when the seedlings are about 3 or 4 inches high, you can water the soil to make sure it’s moist then get the soil pod out (seedlings intact) and gently drop them on a hard surface so that the roots and soil soften.  Gently separate the roots and keep them moist, and  transplant these babies right away.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of soil testing!  This was the first year I tested my soil and I was able to plan my garden with the current state of the soil and also amend it for certain crops. I bought my soil test kit at Home Depot, a few bucks well spent.
  • DON’T over-water your plants, muddy swamp is not conducive to a healthy garden, in fact, it will either kill or stunt growth of all your plants.  (Lesson learned in season one).  Strive for a drip irrigation system that waters by the roots instead of watering the leaves.
  • Weeds suck… literally, they suck the life out of your plants.  Take time each week to weed.  I moved to container gardening this year and had great success with very little weeding necessary, but I still had to dedicate some time to manually pull weeds out before they took over.
  • And probably the most important lesson I learned that ultimately led to my success in gardening was to fertilize religiously…. once a month, and mark my calendar.  I only do organic gardening, because if I’m going to go through all the effort of growing my own veggies, then I will be eating the most healthiest veggies I possibly can.

Below is a few pics I took of my tomatoes when they were ripening on the vine.  I think at my best point I had over 30 tomatoes on 1 plant!!!  Total of three tomato plants, that was a lot of ‘maters!  LOL….  All this was achievable because of the pointers I gave above, dedication and TLC.

organic tomatoes organic beefsteak tomato organic tomatoesdeep red ripe tomatoesBelow is a pic of my green pepper seedlings.  They are much bigger now and have peppers all over the place!  I’ll have to take a pic and update soon.green pepper plantsHere is my vertical salad garden.  I just repurposed an old shoe holder that was hanging around in our garage and put peat moss, and good soil and grew some lettuce from seed.  It’s delicious and so easy!!!  I put it in a mostly shady spot so that it doesn’t go straight to seed in this hot Florida weather. vertical gardenMy kids also enjoy gardening with me.  I think it’s great to include them in the weekly gardening excursions, including the hard stuff!  My big kids were out there countless times, helping me pull weeds, fertilize and enjoying the fruits of our labor!  Here’s my daughter who harvested a few lovely carrots from our garden to include in our dinner.

carrots from my gardenIt was my first year getting eggplants too!  Four plants and each had about 20 eggplants growing on them.  They were of the finger variety and they were soooo tasty!  Here’s a pic of my first harvest, about 23 altogether in this first batch.  🙂delicious eggplant four plants filled with eggplantPretty amazing stuff right?  I honestly didn’t expect such a great yield this year, I was amazed at how well I did, and finally feel like I’m getting the hang of things.  There is truly so much to learn, and gardening is an art.  If you’ve ever felt like giving it a try, I’d highly encourage you to!  Don’t expect great results the first year, consider it a learning season, and if you get a harvest then that’s a bonus!!!  You’d obviously have a better green thumb than me too!  hehehehe…  If you do start gardening, please do yourself and your family the best favor you possibly can and try your best to garden organically.  Major retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s have a great organic selection.  I used some of their organic selection, but also discovered an amazing organic fertilizer that I can make myself, worm compost!  More on that in later posts, it’s truly amazing and I can’t wait to share it with you!  🙂

I would love to hear from you if you have any thoughts or comments on my garden, or about your garden!  Excited to learn more about my worm compost?  It’s AWESOME!!!  Can’t wait to share.  Till next time!

Suzy