Monday, April 19, 2010

How to plant vegetables

Read your seed packet. There’s a lot of useful information there, such as temperature, soil depth and spacing.

Plan your seeding schedule. Based on the seed packet information, determine the order in which varieties should be planted, and when. Different vegetables require different temperatures, and have varying maturity times.

Remember to consider how much of each vegetable you’ll likely use at once. Can you use 24 heads of lettuce in a ten day period? If not, plant as many lettuce seeds as you can eat in a week or two, then wait a couple of weeks and plant some more.

Once you’re ready to go, turn the soil over to disturb weeds and loosen the soil. The seedlings need to be able to push their way up to sunshine. Dig down at least eight inches. Incorporate compost as long as it’s well rotted.

Dig your planting troughs in a straight line. This will save you so much time later on when you are watering, weeding, and picking.

The easiest way to do this is with a ball of string. Tie a loop of string around a stick and jab it into the soil at one end. Do the same thing at the other end of the row. Use the string line as your guideline.

Not all seeds are created equal. Depending on what you’re planting, your row troughs may need to be different depths. A rule of thumb is that you plant twice as deep as the size of the seed (or read your seed packet instructions).

If you’re planting corn, don’t plant it in a single line. Plant at least four rows wide, in a square or rectangle pattern. It needs to cross pollinate.

Cover the seeds and tamp lightly with your hoe or shoe, so that there’s no air pockets around the seed.

Give your seeds a generous drink of water. Perhaps you’ll need one by now too!

If you are setting out transplants instead of seeds, harden the plants off before you plant them. This allows the plants to acclimatize to the outdoors before they are planted.

Set the plants out for two days, bringing them back inside at night. Then leave them out around the clock for another two days. Reduce watering by about one-third. Then plant.

Water and weed. Repeat often. Before you know it, you’ll be at the gloating harvesting stage. Enjoy!

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