Growing a healthy garden is fun! Home grown produce taste great with high levels of nutrition and of higher quality than most produce that people are familiar with. All food is not created equal, why not take a shot at growing a garden to feed your family the best food? You can significantly increase your nutrient intake by growing a garden. Here are a few steps you should take in consideration when planting your dream garden. The amount of food you can preserve through the season can not only improve your health but will save money on your grocery bill. Healthy vegetables comes from stress free plants.
1. Take a Soil Test- The most common price we are familiar with is around $25 for a soil test. Thit will give you a proper indication on your soil characteristics and soil type, you can get a more complex extraction test but for a home garden we don’t recommend that. What crops are you growing? Once the soil is understood then we can balance the fertility and make decisions accordingly.
2. Balanced Soils are Best- Always remember Soil eats first, make sure your materials added to your garden are properly broken down. Plants that start vigorously often have higher yields, the soil needs to balanced properly in order for rapidly availble nutrients to the plant. In large gardens and produce fields it is different to find a large enough source for compost in large quantities while remaining economical. Liquid compost teas can be an answer to replace large amounts of spread compost.
“Soil Eats First”
3. Critical Stress Periods– Transplanting vegetables is stressful on plants. Make sure your transplant solution is higher phosphorus (N-P-K), Phosphorous will help with root growth. You want the soil to be biologically active before planting. We also teach an educational approach on biological soil activators but that is an entire topic of its self. Ask us about “Restore 3G”. this should be done in the fall before planting.
4. Are We Growing Produce or Foliage? If selling produce for profit or storing if for the family is our a priority it is important to understand the plant sap ratio. The plant will go through higher phases at different times of plant development higher in a vegetative growth with large amounts of nitrogen in the sap. At other times the mineral content in the plants sap will be used for reproduction, fruit set and vegetable growth. Be careful of nitrogen in flower instances, many times after thunderstorms you will notice your plants aborted their flowers. You need nutrition in the plants sap in order to promote reproduction and fruit set. We need to use our foliage as solar panels to collect energy while creating the proper node spacing to for fruit development growth areas.
“Watch the New Growth”
Do We Want to Set Fruit?
5. Is Boron Properly Balanced in your Garden- This one is dangerous? Although its good to have Boron in your soil this should be taken lightly. If you want to a garden or produce field with proper reproduction. Reproduction in vegetable production is how you will be able to get more produce off each plant. Think of this example : Calcium is a pick-up truck and boron is the driver, the truck will not move without the driver. Boron will help move nutrients in your garden. If your feeding your garden plant foods you want to make sure it is being put to use. Remember more is not always better! Don’t apply Boron unless you are sure you know what amounts your soils need and the crops you are growing require. Otherwise plan on a bull dozer showing up to fix your problem, its that serious.
6. Irrigation- It may sound strange to hear but we would rather it not rain on our produce plants. Many gardens often associate a hot day with soaking the soil and the foliage of the tomato plant so it will take up water and grow tons of tomatoes, the soil should be the only area receiving water. Water bouncing from soil is the scenario for disease and spreading it across the garden. Drip irrigation is the best method for growing a garden.
7. Save Water in your Garden but don’t Explode your Drip Tape-Water should be taken seriously as a garden can consume a large amount of water. Put the water were its needed, no since in watering the weeds. Drip tape can be used with a garden hose attachment but make sure you don’t spend the entire summer exploding your drip lines and wasting water. The drip tape requires lower of water pressure and will explode if levels are to high. After selecting the many options of emitter spacing water will drip in a uniform passion near the roots of the plants without moving soil. A pressure regulator can be attached to your irrigation area to control the water pressure.
Solutions to Sustainable farming
7. Feed Your Garden- Your plants require nutrition also. The quote ” you are what you eat” is the same in vegetable production. If your plants are not able to eat from fertile soil with the availability of proper amounts of vitamins and minerals your produce will taste terrible, is of lower quality and the largest problem of all it will be robed of nutrition. This will create an environment for bugs and diseases. You know that bugs cannot properly digest sugars, so high brix produce is not a preference for bugs.
8. Know that Healthy Plants Grow Healthy Food- Make sure you have a source of calcium in your garden levels of calcium will drive nutrients and make them available in your garden, not only will it do that but calcium is important for growing good tasting vegtables. Shelf life and firmness go hand in hand together. You will notice the shelf life of vegetables can vary dependent on how the vegetables were grown, calcium is a significant mineral and will firm your vegetables.
9. Avoid Fungicides- Improve the biology in your soil and with fully oxygenated environment and plants will grow how they are designed by mother nature. The result of growing good from soil will get the nutrient cycling working properly to give the plant what its needs at certain times. This environment will grow healthy plants and the most nutritious yields comes from stress free plants. Fungicides will kill the beneficial fungi coating that is naturally on the leaves foliage, mother nature put it there for a reason as the plants natural defense system. If you have to take the route to spray a fungicide it is important to spray a compost tea in order to create new beneficial fungi on the leaves surface. The compost tea should contain
10. Continue to Build Your Soil- There is no reason to have increased cost year after year in vegtable production. We can take the proper steps to continue building our soil to reduce input cost. The environment needs to be created with the goal of biological activity. Many people claim that soils are depleted. More commonly it is the nutrients in the soil are locked an not soluble to the plant. Compaction is not a friend of soil for food production, oxygen is needed in the soil to allow biological activity in the soil. In an aerated soil environment the roots will be able to grow deeper with access to more nutrients. We need to maximize diversity in our soils, the more life living and feeding on the soil the better its fertility.