Vegetables Growing Tips Recipe

Vegetables Growing Tips Recipes

The secret of growing home garden vegetables successfully is to understand their special requirements for cold and warm areas. Many vegetable crops fail simply because they are planted out of season.

Cool season vegetables grow best at temperature around 10C to 20C or even lower and are usually resistant to frost. Plant broad beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kohlrabi, onions, peas, spinach, turnips and Swedes in late summer, autumn or early winter to grow during the cooler months.

Warm season vegetables like much higher temperatures (20C to 35C) and may tolerate even hotter weather. They will grow poorly at low temperatures and are all important warm season vegetables are beans, capsicum, egg plant, okra, potato, sweet corn, sweet potato, tomato and the vine crops (choko, cucumber, marrow, squash, pumpkin). In mild and cold climates they are planted in spring or early summer to grow during the warmer months. In tropical and sub-tropical climates, many can be grown throughout the year.

Beetroot, cabbage, carrot, celery, endive, leek, lettuce, parsnip, radish, rhubarb, silver beet, spring onions and witloof (chicory) have intermediate temperature requirements. Some root crops may 'bolt' or run to seed if sown too late in the autumn or winter or too early in the spring. Some varieties of lettuce will run to seed it sown in warm weather, so it is important to select sure-heading varieties for summer sowing.

It is not necessary to have different soils for different vegetables. A soil that yields choice tomatoes, should also yield choice cabbages, carrots and pumpkins. The ideal soil for vegetables should have a loose crumbly texture to aeration and drainage, but should also be able to hold water and nutrients. Improve sandy soils with animal manure, vermiculite or peat moss. Clay soils are improved by adding organic matter to improve crumb texture and coarse sand to improve texture.

The quantity of water and the frequency of watering depends on the water-holding capacity of the soil: Clay soils hold water well, sandy soils poorly. Watering also depends on the depth to which the roots of different vegetables grow, the stage of growth and the weather conditions. Never wait until vegetables start wilting before watering, for they do not take kindly to 'on-off' treatment. If the soil is dry just below the surface. If the soil is dry just below the surface, then it is time to water again. Early morning or evening is the best time for watering vegetables to avoid high evaporation in the middle of the day.

Mulching is another way of conserving soil moisture. The best mulches for vegetable gardens are garden compost, leaf mould, well-rotted manure or dry grass clippings.

For most vegetables, including root crops, dig the soil to spade depth (20-25cm) but do not bring subsoil to the surface. You can improve drainage of heavy soils by raising the beds 15-25cm above the surrounding level and sloping the sides of the bed to about 45 degrees.

To grow quickly, vegetables need as much sunlight as possible, especially in winter when days are short. Avoid shade from buildings, fences, shrubs or trees. On level sites run the vegetables in a north-south direction. On sloping sites run the beds across the slope.

Always plant tall vegetables such as sweet corn or tomatoes in such as way as to prevent shading low-grouping crops. When growing seedlings, expose them to sunlight as soon as the emerge, otherwise they can become tall and spindly. A few vegetables are herbs such as choko, leeks, mint, parsley and rhubarb will tolerate some shade.

Wind damages the leaves and stems of vegetables and weakens the root systems. Cold winds will slow growth and hot winds evaporate water from plants and the soil surface. Protect by planting trees shrubs or hedges or timber wind breaks. Artificial wind breaks also provide support for climbing beans, cucumber and climbing peas.

Growing vegetables in containers has a special appeal for people who live in flats, home units and townhouses. Tubs, pots and troughs offer a simple solution for providing every home with some fresh vegetables.

Relatively inexpensive, lightweight containers, 'easy to apply' fertilizers and the development of early maturing, compact vegetable cultivars have helped to create this interesting and rewarding hobby.

Salad vegetables - capsicum, carrot, cucumber, lettuce and tomato - are popular for containers because of their high quality and flavor when freshly picked. Dwarf, compact cultivars of salad vegetables and others like bush squash and marrow (zucchini) are the best to choose. Small vegetables like cress, mustard, radish, spring onions and most herbs, are ideal for pot culture.

Whatever containers you choose, they must have free drainage. Container grown vegetables cannot forage for moisture as they do in the garden. In summer, vegetables may use several times their own weight in water every day so this calls for daily watering.

Leave a space of 3-5cm between soil level and the rim of the container. Fill this space slowly until the water weeps from the drainage holes. This restores the soil to 'field capacity'.

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