Published: June 11, 2015

    Tips for Planting a Fruit and Vegetable Garden

    Food gardening has become a popular trend throughout the country, as people attempt to reduce their grocery bills by saving money on home-grown produce. At the same time, home gardens yield better-tasting produce, free from herbicides and pesticides commonly used to treat commercially-grown fruits and vegetables. If you’d like to start your own garden, here are some helpful tips that will help you grow bigger, better-tasting fruits and veggies.

    Location is Critical

    Most vegetable plants flourish in full sun. Be sure to choose an area that gets a minimum six hours of sunlight each day. You should also place the tallest plants, such as corn, pole beans and indeterminate tomatoes, on the north or west side of your garden to make sure they don’t cast shade on smaller plants.

    Cultivate the Soil

    Ideal garden soil should have lots of organic matter and compost. Try adding peat moss to the soil to make it less compact. This will give the your plants’ roots a better opportunity to spread throughout the soil, where they can siphon nutrients.

    Try Using Mulch

    Hot environments can be somewhat problematic, since water is often lost due to evaporation. In these cases, add mulch to the topsoil to slow evaporation. This is also an effective way to inhibit weed growth in and around plants.

    Don’t Over-Fertilize

    Too much fertilizer can promote unproductive growth. For instance, excessive nitrogen will cause lush green growth at the expense of a smaller harvest. Instead of adding fertilizer, enrich the soil with lots of organic matter. You should also speak to a gardening professional to get specific tips on unique plant needs. For instance, many people are unaware that tomato plants need lots of calcium to produce fruit.

    Be Patient with Pests

    Too many amateur gardeners reach for insecticides the moment they see insects probing their gardens. In reality only about 3 percent of typical garden bugs are harmful to plants. Many times, when plants appear to be ravaged by mysterious bugs, they’re actually nutrient starved or over-fertilized. If you do feel the need to resort to insecticides, use them responsibly. This means using only the smallest amount and never spraying in the morning when pollinators are most active.

    Water Wisely

    Most garden failures center on under- or over-watering. The vast majority of the time, vegetable plants require only one inch of water per week, including rainfall. That said, if you’re gardening in very hot regions of the country, you may need to add more. To evaluate whether you need to water, stick your finger into the soil; if it’s slightly moist, do not water. You can also promote better tasting vegetables and fruit by watering with filtered water from a Pelican Water Premium Whole House Water Filter with UV, which reduces unwanted impurities, chlorine, and chloramines.