Here we are, with the third and last chapter of the ‘vegetable garden saga’. We had seen the main features needed to plan and take care of a vegetable garden, from there we went on to how to organise it according to the spaces available. And now? We have to cultivate! Now we let Giulia speak one more time… she can’t wait to tell us more about this topic!
Here I am, let’s continue our path in the vegetable garden world! Once chosen the space where to cultivate and taken care of the ground, it’s better to make a list of all vegetables, flowers, herbs that you would like to grow and after this you have to choose between starting from a seed or a ready plant.
How to cultivate? Seeds or plants?
We generally start from seeds only with certain kind of vegetables: pumpkins, spinaches, green beans, peas, broad beans, valerian and radish. For all the rest we mainly start from a plant. In my opinion, starting from the seed is a very challenging choice because the procedure is much more complex. For me it’s an art: it needs time, knowledge, patience and commitment. If you decide to proceed this way, you can opt for seeding directly in the field in a good piece of land. In this case, it must be not too cold or too hot (somewhere I read that the perfect temperature for the ground should be around 7 degrees) and seeds must have good quality.
The other option is seeding inside pots. You can find so many in supermarkets but you can also use self-made ones, such as eggs cartons, paper toilet rolls, old flower pots,…
What about seeding?
Here you will find the steps to be followed for seeding successfully:
- choose the pot
- put the proper topsoil
- water the topsoil
- put at least 2 seeds per pot (this is suggested to increase the possibility of success in case one out two won’t grow)
- take care of the right temperature and light
- once the plants are born, move them in outdoor pots in a sheltered place, so as to let the plants getting used to the new environment
- move the plants in the ground – but be careful: don’t touch the roots so as to avoid any trauma.
Cultivating is not that easy: any suggestion?
Sure, here below a list of suggestions:
- Herbs are perfect to be added in your vegetale garden but also as decorations. However, people that love and use them much probably will opt to keep them closer in pots near the kitchen.
- make always a plan of what you would like to plant for the upcoming season: bear in mind the space available considering always also the space needed between a plant and the other (generally 30/40 cm according to the size of the plant)
- have a look at how the sun rotates during the day and consider it when planting (some plants adores and needs sun, some others are not so fond on it)
- try to don’t plant everything at the same time, to avoid that everything will grow and be harvested at the same time too (for example, you can plant 10 lettuce plants in a first moment, and then other 10 plants 2 weeks later,…so as that the harvest will be not too much but steady)
- optimise the space, putting vegetables that grow fast between those that grow slowly. For example: since cabbages need more days to get ready compared to salad, we will use the empty space between the plants to let this last one growing or we could plant radishes between any other vegetables. This kind of cultivation helps also to follow the season. For example in the part of the vegetable garden in which we have planted asparagus (that are permanent), when it’s not their season we plant something temporary
- if we put plants next to each other with a certain logic, this will help the “communication” between plants and prevent from parasites
- do your best to avoid weeds: not only because your vegetable garden won’t look very nice, but especially because they steal water and good properties to the vegetable garden. Spreading weeds could kill your vegetables. In the most extreme cases, farmers use chemical products that damages the cultivation. Since it’s a pretty hard and boring job, try to take it positively: for example, I use it to free my mind and get rid of stress; putting hands in the ground is always good and estimulates our instinct. Bear in mind that, to eliminate them, you have to take away the roots too, not only what visible on the surface.
- Mulching can be useful to avoid weeds, but also to protect the ground from the season issues. If you do this in Summer, the ground will be more wet (water won’t evaporate), while in winter it will protect the ground from low temperatures
How can we irrigate the ground?
There are different ways for irrigating – Let’s see some of them:
- with the tube, efficient in any time of the day
- the nebulization (rain effect), only during the very first hours of the day or late in the evening, otherwise if you do it during the hottest time of the day, you will cook the vegetables or the water will evaporate immediately
- drop system irrigation: this is the best method, you make a path among the vegetables through some pipes, that will leave regularly drops of water. This avoids wasting water and mushrooms on the leaves and can be activated in any moment of the day.
Do you have any other suggestion?
Of course 🙂 I continue still a bit before saying goodbye (I really hope that you enjoyed these articles and that you found them interesting!):
- Darkening clothes avoid the sun to burn leaves and fruits
- be careful to parasites, nowadays there are so many kinds attacking young plants. Use products suggested by experts. You can also use more natural ways, that you can easily find on internet. It’s a personal choice. Watch out for snails: they appear at the beginning of the nice season, they devour young plants, if too many they could destroy everything!
- You can create a decorating vegetable garden by adding herbs and edible flowers. Another nice idea may be playing with the colours of the vegetables. For example, you could alternate the white cabbages with the violet one, or planting different kinds of lettuce with different colours or shapes. You can also prepare some signs with what is cultivated on it. Use scarecrows (even if today birds seem smarter than those in the past), add colourful pinwheel to understand where the wind blows…use your fantasy!
In my opinion any vegetable garden is the mirror of the person taking care of it: ours is always crowded with vegetables organised in rows per kinds, it’s a mix of order and disorder, a bit like me and my dad: so precise about some things and so messy on others, but we like it this way!
Sooo it’s definetely clear that there is so much to know about the world of the vegetable gardens. It’s a kind of ancient art, that can’t be improvised…a bit like beekeeping! Let us know what you think about vegetable gardens and self-production and if you have any friend fond on this topic, do not hesitate to forward our article 🙂
Giulia and the Gaeblini