The Secrets of Growing Great Tasting Vegetables
Growing vegetables is one of the most pleasurable and satisfying activities you can do in your garden. The excitement of planting them, watching them grow and picking the produce is the main reason people keep trying, even though Mulching Melbourne the pests and diseases are competing with you. Preparing the soil properly is the secret of success to growing vegetables. Every time you plant a new crop, you must incorporate compost,animal manure, blood and bone and potash. If you don’t your vegetables will be weak and prone to disease.
Unfortunately, a lot of our knowledge of what works and what doesn’t has been lost as it hasn’t been pasted down the generations. Well don’t despair, you can create your own bank of knowledge and the way to do this is through trial and error. I too am one of those people who didn’t take any notice of what my dad did, so I have had to work it out myself through just giving it ago.
The reward of growing vegetables is huge but they demand a lot of attention to get the best results. The idea with vegetables is to grow them very quickly and harvest them, unlike other plants that take years to grow. Even though some of them are perennials it is best to treat them as annuals.
Soil pH for Growing Vegetables
The pH of your soil is very important. Some vegetables like an alkaline pH like yams and other like acidic pH such as spinach. But many plants will grow within the range of a pH between 6-7. I have included a chart, so you can see the range that each vegetables can tolerate. If the plant is growing healthy, then there is nothing wrong with your soils pH and you don’t need to change it.
Vegetable Optimal pH Vegetable Optimal pH
Artichoke(globe) 5.6-6.6 Asparagus 6.0-7.0
Beans 6.0-7.0 Beet 5.6-6.6
Broccoli 6.0-7.0 Brussels sprouts 6.0-7.0
Cabbage 5.6-6.6 Cantaloupe 6.0-7.0
Carrot 5.0-6.0 Catnip 5.0-6.0
Cauliflower 6.0-7.0 Celery 6.0-7.0
Chard 6.0-7.0 Chili pepper 5.0-6.0
Chives 5.0-6.0 Cucumber 5.0-6.0
Dill 5.0-6.0 Eggplant 5.0-6.0
Garlic 5.0-6.0 Kiwi 5.0-7.0
Leek 5.0-6.0 Lettuce 6.0-7.0
Mint 6.0-7.0 Mushroom 7.0-8.0
Okra 6.0-8.0 Onions 5.0-7.0
Parsley 6.0-8.0 Parsnip 5.0-7.0
Peas 5.6-6.6 Peanuts 5.0-6.0
Peppers 6.0-8.0 Potatoes 5.8-6.5
Pumpkins 5.0-7.0 Radish 6.0-7.0
Raspberry 5.0-7.0 Rhubarb 5.0-7.0
Rutabaga 5.0-7.0 Shallots 5.0-7.0
Spinach 5.0-7.0 Squash 6.0-7.0
Sweet corn 6.0-7.0 Sweet potatoes 5.0-7.0
Swiss chard 6.0-7.0 Tobacco 5.0-7.0
Yam 6.0-8.0 Zucchini 6.0-7.0
The tricky part is applying the above knowledge and putting crop rotation into practice.
Crop rotation is moving each crop to the next bed and not planting the same crop year after year in the same bed. This helps minimises the build up of pests and diseases.
For example: If planting onions in a bed previously occupied by tomatoes, then you will need to add a dose of lime. After the onions you can plant peas and beans which also love an alkaline soil. Peas and beans are legumes and fix nitrogen from the atmosphere into the soil, which becomes available for leaf vegetable such as Silver beet, lettuce, broccoli or cauliflower which have a high nitrogen requirement. After that you can plant a root crop such as carrots,which doesn’t need much manure or nitrogen.
To reinvigorate a garden bed, you can fallow it (rest it) and plant a green manure crop of clover, legumes (peas, beans) etc and when they are 50cm high, dig them back into the soil.
Water frequently and deeply. There is no such thing as a drought tolerant vegetable garden. Drip or aqua pore irrigation is the best type of watering system as the water goes straight to the plants roots. Don’t water from overhead, because it causes fungal diseases. Mulching with pea straw, lucerne or sugar cane is an excellent idea, as it controls weeds, cuts down evaporation and breaks down over time and improves the soil structure.
Aspect of the Vegie Patch
Consider the aspect – North, South, East, West Vegetable patches do best in a north or westerly aspect.
Consider the light – vegetables need full sun all day.
Remove all weeds, especially couch and kikuyu grass. If you raise the bed, the grass will grow up through the soil and take over.
Dig over and add cow manure/compost/blood and bone/potash
Work out the place for each crop