The selection of a suitable site on which to establish the vegetable garden requires considerable thought, for an ill-chosen spot can be a great handicap in the beginning. The average home gardener has little choice because of the relatively small size of urban plots but several points must be considered if the outlay of seed, fertilizer, manure, and labor is to show profitable returns.
Level ground with good drainage or ground with a slight slope is just about ideal. If the ground is on a small slope make the incline even by filling in any kind of anxieties with dirt extracted from noticeable high places or else some plants will certainly struggle with excess moisture while others, a few feet away, struggle with the absence of it. It is hard to get an even stand of seed starting on irregular ground, for germination is always irregular.
If the only ground is on a modest to high slope it will be essential to construct a number of bench balconies to preserve dirt and also wetness. The quality of the incline will figure out the number of balconies needed. Modest slopes require 2 or three vast balconies; steep slopes ask for several narrower ones.
On moderate inclines, the balconies can be formed with dirt, yet on steeper slopes maintaining walls of concrete, brick or rock are necessary to avoid extreme damages and also soil loss throughout hefty tomato. For preference, these terraces ought to incline back somewhat from the keeping wall surface.
Excellent drainage is vital in vegetable gardens for no plants of effect will tolerate “wet feet” for long. Too much soil moisture is detrimental to plant growth because the roots must have moisture and air circulation to function properly. Saturated conditions also slow down appreciably the beneficial activities of soil organisms which, as with roots must have air to flourish.
In laying out a garden there are two generally used methods each with its advantages and drawbacks. One method is to dig over and prepare the whole area allocated to vegetables and to grow the crops, in rows, side by side with no defined paths between. This is the usual system in temperate regions and has the advantage that the area is used to the full.
The alternative method, and probably the most used, is to grow vegetables in slightly raised beds with each bed devoted to a single crop. It may be worthwhile to practice the first method in the dry season for winter crops and then resort to the bed method during the wet months to assist with drainage, as was mentioned earlier in my article to avoid the “wet feet” syndrome.
Gardeners practicing the bed method usually make the mistake of making the paths too wide and the beds too narrow and too high. The bed can be of any convenient length but should be at least four feet wide if they are to accommodate several rows of crops such as beetroot, carrots, and lettuces.
Beds of this size will still make it possible to allow for hoeing, thinning and harvesting to be done from the paths, which can be about fifteen to eighteen inches wide. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, and other widely spaced crops are unsuited to bed culture because of the distance between rows necessary if adequate soil is available to earth them up.
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