Vegetable Gardening Guide

picture of a peas growing in the garden

Welcome to the vegetable garden guide, your one stop place for discovering great tips and tricks for growing a healthy vegetable garden. Garden fun lives in both the process and the end product, the vegetables. Year after year master and novice gardeners learn about new vegetable varieties and try to determine how well any potential new variety might fit into their specific garden environment.

Experienced gardeners often approach the task with a casualness gained over time. Beginning gardeners also need not worry. Vegetable gardeners tend to adopt their own growing habits, with vegetable preferences and time investments often influencing their decision making. Time of investment, for example, might vary from gardeners who consider it an experiential second thought, more akin to a task completed in a less than orderly manner, to gardeners who consider it a day to day, getting up at the crack of dawn activity.

Salad popularity additionally provides incentives for many back yard gardeners to think back yard salad vegetable gardens.

Vegetable Growing Tips

Vertical Gardening

picture of an example of vertical gardening

Taking available garden space into consideration raised a different set of issues. For example, garden size influences vegetable choices. Leaf lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables that occupy relatively little space as are perfect for smaller gardens. Keeping space in mind, garden vegetables need full sun, therefore gardens should be located away from structures and trees that may shade the garden. Tree roots may also compete for water and nutrients.

Vertical gardening remains very popular for people with limited garden space. Some vegetables, such as the peas and beans, grow vertically and provide great edging for a basic six square foot garden. Garden preparation, which consists of clearing the soil of weeds and rocks, and insuring it can provide balanced nutrients to the vegetables, starts the process.

Typically two types of peas get classified as suited for gardens: English peas (shelled and canned) and pod peas such as sugar peas and snow peas. regardless of types all peas can be planted in soil at at a depth of approximately one inch or more.

Peas are susceptible to aphids and root maggots. Maggots tend to be more numerous in cooler, moist soil, so planing later helps control the problem.

Harvesting peas begins when the pods are plump. Starting from the bottom of the plant, work your way up for harvesting to insure that the newer growth on top develops. Harvest pods early allows them to retain their texture and sweet taste. Snap peas can be consumed raw in salads, or cooked like green beans. Harvesting either type late often results in overly fiber bound vegetables.

Snap beans, string beans or pole beans definitely have a niche appeal, commonly making the top ten list of back yard garden vegetables. The reason is simple. They are easy to grow and fun to eat.

Pole beans, the choice for vertical gardening, start by planting a few seeds around a thin pole (readily available at local garden stores) or trellis etc. al, and once the vines begin to grow, they find the pole and begin growing up and around it. Helping the young vine find the pole is also a possibility.

The beans can be picked as they mature, usually after two months of growth and flowering. The vines will continue to produce beans until the first frost.

Difficult to Grow Vegetables

picture of an eggplant seedling

Sometimes gardeners celebrate a successful harvest and at the same time regret the one vegetable that did not meet expectations. Sometimes a pest related issue causes the disappointing grow. Other times, geographical and seasonal related factors influence a vegetable's growth. Two examples highlight the topic of difficult to grow vegetables.

While celery makes it to most kitchen tables for use as an ingredient in soups and salads, its above average growing difficulty means it often gets neglected as a garden vegetable. Growing celery is primarily its an exercise in patience because it takes around four months to grow from seed to table. Additionally, its cold weather nature means that air temperatures should not exceed 75oF during the growing season. Knowing those two facts would explain why southern gardeners might consider celery a difficult plant to grow.

Nature Tip: Celery and other plants in the carrot family (Apiaceae) attract a variety of wasp species, many of which are also beneficial garden insects.

Arguably eggplant ranks as one of the most high maintenance garden vegetables. No doubt purple lovers rank it as one of the most beautiful garden vegetables, enjoyed by people around the world from Asia, India and the Americas.

As a basic warm weather vegetable, it's very sensitive to cold temperatures, even without frost conditions. Ideally, low temperatures during the eggplant growing season should range between 58 and 70oF. That fact along provides southern gardeners with an eggplant growing edge.

On the positive side, eggplants are fairly tolerant of acidic soil and can grown withing the 5.5-6.8 pH range, leaving novice growers one less issue to deal with. Timing is important for healthy eggplant growth and in the north, beginning with seedlings in established pots, a norm for large growers, helps time the transplanting process. Typically, the northern gardener must wait until both soil and day time temperatures reach 70oF, and the transplants should be done on a cloudy, warm day in order to acquaint the plants with outdoor conditions.

© 2009-2016 Patricia A. Michaels