Vegetable gardening… WHAT DO YOU DO? How do you garden? I find in Manitoba people tend to assume that you simply know how to garden because you live here. I know for a fact that gardening is not an inheritable skill. Learnable, but not necessarily inheritable. So I am here to give you the knowledge and instructions you need to get you started on your journey to becoming an expert gardener.
The first thing to remember is that you can always learn more, you never know everything about gardening. Ask questions, do some research, experiment. Learning is always beneficial for your gardening experience. With Sheldon Falk (Owner of Falk Nurseries) being my dad I have been showered in wisdom when it comes to gardening. Learned! I did not magically inherit Sheldon’s knowledge, though that would have been nice. Everyone needs to learn, never be afraid to ask for tips from your local gardening experts, neighbours, friends, and family! This will be the first and most beneficial thing for your garden. The more you know, the better your chances of success.
Second to most important is location. Where are you putting your gardens? Vegetables require lots of sunshine, if you have your veggies in the shade your harvest will be next to nothing. Last year I discovered my new veggie garden plot was 90% shade! My spinach sprouted and immediately went to seed due to stress and lack of sunshine and I harvested 1 cucumber that was 1/2 an inch long. On the other hand, my tomatoes that were in the sunshine were bountiful! I had so many tomatoes! Location matters! Another important thing to look into when deciding your garden location is the soil and moisture. You want a well-drained area, watering is vitally important, but if the water isn’t draining away your plants will drown! Remember that plants are pet, not furniture. Plants require daily care, or at least daily check-ins.
Watering is another vital step. As you will learn through this blog, every step to gardening is an important step. I highly recommend that you do not cut corners in your gardening. Don’t over water so avoid watering as often, don’t try to make it one more day before you go out. You will always reap the benefits of your hard work. I recommend checking on your garden every day or two. Especially if it is hot! If your soil is feeling dry and crumbly at an inch deep you will want to throw on that sprinkler and let it rain! If your soil is damp and soggy at an inch deep, you can leave the watering for the day. There are certain plants that will require more water than some to help with their flavours. Some of these would be celery, lettuce, onions, etc…
The nice thing about planting veggies is generally the seed packages of the tag will tell you the distance you need between your plants. As a general rule with potted plants though is to always dig the hole as deep as the soil it already has. Some plants such as tomatoes can handle the dirt going a little higher up the stem as it encourages more roots. Potatoes do this as well once they start to grow their leaves up top. I highly recommend fertilizing in the beginning with miracle grow garden fertilizer and then giving a good soak to activate the fertilizer. Follow your fertilizer package instructions for specific details of when to reapply or if they need another application or not.
My final parting tip is this, harvest on time! Again most tags and seed packages will tell you when a general harvest time is for each plant. I highly recommend that when your tomatoes ripen pick them as soon as you can. If ripe tomatoes are exposed to a heavy rain that crop of fruit will likely rot. I learned this the hard way last year.