I did grow up in a family where working in the family garden was a right-of-passage. Still today my grandparent’s vegetable garden is successful with my grandfather and uncle doing most of the management.
Today, I would like to share some tips on successful vegetable garden. The bulk of vegetable gardening for 2012 is complete, but now is a good time to lay the ground work for 2013.
If you do not soil sample, please give it some thought. Regular readers of my articles will know I have said this many times. If you don’t soil test, you are just guessing on what you need to purchase when you visit the store of your choice when purchasing fertilizer and lime.
I am going to venture too that we have folks that may fertilize each year, but have not put a bag of lime on their garden in decades. When you talk soil fertility, you need to give thought to soil pH. Soil pH can really be a big player in you having garden success or failure.
In our area of Georgia, we can tend to be more acidic or have more low soil pH. When the soil pH is low, much of that good fertilizer may never get used by your plants. This time of year is a good time to soil test your garden because you may need to start improving your soil pH now in order to see an improvement for next growing season.
Also, you will know your fertilizing plan in advance. Soil test run to the UGA Soil Test Lab is $9 per sample and is mailed through our office.
I know I am too busy. It is better for me to take notes on for example a program where I can go back and review before the program comes back around.
Make a chart of where you planted items in the garden for this past growing season and incorporate this data into your crop rotation plans for next year.
Crop rotation can be helpful in overall garden management in areas such as plant diseases. You need to take time to sit back and review the garden season. Do you think you had overall success or did you have items that did not do so well. Be your own investigator. How did you irrigate in times of drought? Is your garden spot in the most efficient area for not only the plants, but yourself in the first place.
Remember, vegetable gardens work best in areas that get a lot of sunlight on well-drained soils. You need to think about if you are set up to irrigate in times of drought. June 2012 was extremely hot and dry. June is a critical time and you need to be able to supplement water when needed.
Also, how did you water? Using sprinklers at the wrong time of day can put most vegetable gardeners down the wrong path to success. Soaking foliage of plants in late afternoons can just set up the perfect environment for disease to start. Now would be a great time to investigate on more conservation type methods of irrigation such as soaker hoses.
Do you have the equipment you need for vegetable gardening? You need to inspect your current equipment and see if they will make it another year. Do you need a hoe, round-nosed shovel or do you want to start saving up for a garden tiller. This is a good time to inspect, clean up and store equipment.
You may want to inspect your storage facility from time to time to make sure someone else in the family has not borrowed or misplaced the equipment.
Nothing is more bothersome than to need something then spend valuable time seeing where it ended up.
Since our article is more about preparation, think about varieties for 2013 and study up. Most folks have traditional favorites. You may be the only one that like a particular tomato variety, but from what I see most families have varieties they pass down. For example, our garden would not be complete without Better Boy tomatoes. You may though want to give some of the new varieties a try on a limited basis to see how you like them. Varieties with some disease resistance can help too.
Finally, I am a firm believer that a well laid out plan normally will end up with positive results. If you still don’t get the expected results, you still should be closer to that goal than you were before.
For more information contact Gordon County Extension at 706-629-8685 or email email@example.com.