Growing Healthy: Gardening

Water is essential to growing fruits, vegetables, and other plants. If there is not sufficient rain, you will need to apply water to your plants thoroughly for it to be beneficial. The soil should be soaked to a depth of at least 6 inches.  You may want to consider investing in a handy piece of equipment like a sprinkler. For a smaller area, you could tie a hose to a digging for and create the same basic effect.

Side-dressing is a term used to describe the placement of fertilizer along the rows of vegetables or around individual plants. This helps to speed up plant growth, and keep them succulent. These are beneficial. A mixture of 5-10-5 fertilizer is suitable. One pound of fertilizer should be used for every 20 running feet, or one teaspoon per plant.

As the plants continue to grow it is best to occasionally add an application of liquid fertilizer. Any high concentrated fertilizers supply instant plant food. One tablespoon in a gallon of water will feed 25 feet of a row or 10 large tomato plants.

There is no set rule for harvesting crops. The value of their food is dependent upon the time they are picked and used. If you harvest incorrectly it can damage the vegetable. In heavy soils, root vegetables will need dug up, if you pull, they may break easily.
This rule must be followed in autumn. Peas, sweet cord, and snap beans will loose quality if they are left to stand for too many days on the plant. Leafy vegetables do not need to reach full sized to be picked and used.

Root crops, like beets, carrots,  and radishes also do not need to be grown to full size to be harvested. These are better at the younger stage. However if the root crops are to be used for winter storage, they should be fully mature when you pick them. Broccoli should be cut whe the flower heads compact into bunches but before the flowers open. Snap beans should be picked when they are 3 inches long and the seed is small.

Tomato’s, beans, and peas should be picked by holding the vine with one hand and pick the vegetable with the other hand to avoid breaking the vine. Sweet corn and lime beans are more difficult to harvest at just the right time. For corn, pull the husk back just a little bit, and press on the kernels.

If the kernels pop open revealing a milky fluid it is ready to be picked. Lime bean pods should also be pressed with the fingertips to determine how fat the beans are.  You may need to open a few of the pods to make sure. You should wait until the beans in the pod are fully grown.

Pest Control:
Pests can be troublesome, especially with cabbage, broccoli, and snap peas.  Rotenote and pyrethrum dusts will provide some control. If the problem is chewing insects, arsenate of lead mixed with lime will keep them away. Arsenate of lead is a poison, so it must not be used on leafy vegetables, or the surface of a snap pea or broccoli should be removed before eating.  The dusts are obtainable at all seed stores.