InDepthInfo on Gardening
Gardening is not merely a hobby. It is a way of being productive and enjoying the satisfaction of a job well done. No wonder so many people keep manicured lawns and flower beds. But how much more satisfying it is to actually grow something that can be eaten.
A good garden and healthy plants begin with good soil. The first step a gardener should take is establish a compost bin where scraps can be thrown so that there is always a ready supply of fertile soil for plant beds.
Vegetables are generally easy to grow but every different one has its own peculiarities. Planting celery for example can be tricky because of the long time it takes for germination. However, potato growing can just be a matter of slipping a few table scraps into the ground. The key to good vegetable gardens is well-mulched, well-drained soil, mostly sunny that is kept watered periodically. If this is done, most vegetables can be grown without too much bother. Yet many gardeners will enjoy growing unusual produce like leeks, which can be blanched - a process of making the stalks white by covering them with soil. Carrots are easy to grow with the propper soil preperation. A raised bed with sandy, well-multched soil, low in nitrogen is best. The most popular garden vegetable in the world is the tomato. This is probably because tomatoes are easy to grow, quite prolific, and among the most healtful of foods. Growing cucumbers and other vining vegetables requires prior planing to handle the space they will take.
Most herbs originated somewhere near the Mediterranean and are frequently used in Italian, and in fact the world's, cooking. Most of them have been adapted to grow at least as an annual even in temperate regions. Basil, for example is typically considered an annual, but it is actually a very tender perennial. Growing parsley and other herbs in a small herb garden can produce enough herbs, when dried, to last throughout the year. Growing Oregano, a common mint, is very simple and will grow as a perennial even in colder regions. Cilantro grows as an annual. Its leaves can be dried and used in many Mexican and Chinese dishes. Chives come back year after year. They also sport a purple flower in early summer that can be used in salads.
Besides putting small and fertile spots to good use, herbs can also be grown in pots so that they can be transported in and out of doors, and even grown in winter.
Preserving garden gains is a high priority for many gardeners. Most crops come in all at once, hundreds of tomatoes, crowds of zucchini, and loads of radishes. Dehydrating, freezing, canning, and vacuum sealing can help to extend the life of these and many more vegetables.
Control of garden pests is key to having an enjoyable and productive garden. Look for ways to deal with these problems naturally as chemical control often kills beneficial insects. This can cause a vicious cycle to occur as the lack of predatory insects can cause the resurgence of harmful insects, which again must be controlled using chemicals.
Other Garden Tips
We have put together a few articles: How to Plant and Grow Peonies and The Raspberry Cane Borer.