Summer time veggie gardening

Sponsored Content 8 May 2019

With Summer quickly approaching, everyone is breaking out their wallets and heading to the nearest garden centre to get a head start on their gardens. But you can get ahead of the game for cheaper than you might think; it just requires a little more effort on your part.

 

Taken from Pixabay.com

Rather than paying hefty prices for garden centre and greenhouse-raised plants every year, take a trip to your local grocery store and pick up some seed packets, which can cost as little as a pound per pack. The rewards of starting your own garden from scratch might surprise you - and it makes for a very relaxing hobby! But with so many seed varieties to choose from, which vegetables are right for your garden? Recent polls show that these six vegetables are planted consistently because of their high yield and culinary versatility:

Kale

High in vitamins and low in calories, kale ranks in as the most popular garden vegetable in recent years. Its quick regrowth rate -- as long as you are trimming it, rather than pulling it -- makes it a steady and reliable source of nutrition. Kale is most popular in smoothies, but it's also great in salads, baked into chips, or even just sauteed as a side dish.

Tomatoes

Tomatoes, although slow-growing, are a high yielding plant - if you properly care for yours, it should produce more tomatoes than you can eat! If you're a fan of greek salads or even pasta, you can easily make your favorite meals at home while saving money on half the ingredients.

Broccoli

Broccoli is a great source of vitamins C and K, which help your body to heal and produce wrinkle-erasing collagen. Besides being good for you, broccoli is delicious served fresh, steamed, or even in stir fry!

 

Taken from Pixabay.com

Rhubarb

Despite its sweet tendencies, rhubarb is not a fruit; if anything, it's a vegetable. But don't let that stop you from enjoying rhubarb in homemade pies, breads, and custards! Growing rhubarb in your home garden is easier than you might think -- rhubarb is extremely hardy, requires little water, and comes back every year. It is also another of the vegetables that provide multiple harvests throughout the spring and summer months.

Potatoes

As a root plant, potatoes can thrive in harsh environments, making them a great vegetable for those of us without a knack for gardening. With potatoes, you can make anything from plain old mashed potatoes to cake -- once dehydrated, potatoes can be ground into a gluten-free flour alternative, which can be used in almost any dish.

Asparagus

Aside from being delicious, asparagus is associated with a number of health benefits that may surprise you -- it is known for aiding with weight loss, digestion issues, and even high cholesterol. Once grown, asparagus can be harvested again and again throughout the season and will return yearly. This hearty vegetable is great for grilling, freezing, or even canning.

Providing Your Garden With Proper Care

All of these vegetables, while fairly sturdy, require some level of care from you; fortunately, that's fairly easy to accomplish (even on a budget or a time crunch). With a few simple tools, you can have your garden in bloom in no time. A healthy garden doesn't only require water to flourish -- it needs plenty of food and a proper growing structure, as well.

Of course, every good gardener has a trowel and a pair of gloves ready for use; however, neither of these can provide your garden vegetables with the nutrients they need to grow. There are a few different ways to feed your garden and improve the quality of the soil:

 

Taken from Unsplash.com

Nutrition

• Buying manufactured plant food is one method of fertilizing your garden, but overexposure to the minerals contained in plant food can cause your plants to die, so carefully follow any instructions on the package.

• If you are on a budget and happen to have a wood burning stove or an outdoor fire pit, consider recycling your waste ashes by sprinkling them over your garden soil. The potassium, phosphorus, and magnesium (all important ingredients in expensive commercial fertilizers) in the wood ash provides your soil with some much-needed nutrients, which increases plant growth.

• If you don't have any waste ash, you can always create your own compost; it's a bit of a slow start but over time, organic waste from your garden vegetables can become fuel for that same garden. It's organic, effective, and completely free! All you need is a barrel in which to successfully produce your compost.

Organisation and Structure

• As for adequate structure, plants require specific spacing and organization in order to thrive; plant them too close, and some plants will choke out the others. Every seed packet includes information on how far apart to plant the seeds; alternately, different species of plants should be spaced at least one foot apart to allow for adequate root growth.

• Some plants even grow more vigorously in each other's presence; for example, kale thrives when planted near potatoes (perhaps because the potato roots act as an insulating agent).

• Additionally, marigolds are surprisingly effective in aiding the growth of any plant -- their smell repels insects who might otherwise ravage your produce. Because of this, it's best to plant marigolds around your garden's perimeter, like a fence to keep out unwanted intruders.

Planting, feeding, and properly caring for your garden may sound time-consuming but it only requires a few short minutes of your attention every day, and it's simpler than you might think. Gardening doesn't have to be hard labour; it's mostly a task of patience, whether you are expecting your first harvest or even just waiting for your compost to decompose. Because it requires not too much time and effort, and with the price of seeds being so low, it's surprising that more people aren't planting their vegetable gardens the old-fashioned way. Although it takes a little work, growing your own food is extremely rewarding -- both for your stomach and your wallet! You may even find that you enjoy spending this quiet time outdoors; besides, why pay somebody else for something you are capable of producing on your own?

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