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Starting a vegetable garden is a passionate idea for many people, because of many reasons. The advantage of having a home garden is that you can pick and relish your own vegetables when they are at their finest flavor. Moreover you can show your children about where the food comes from and have the benefit of healthy, fresh vegetables all season along. Setting up of a vegetable garden is not very difficult. You have to find an appropriate area for your garden, the vegetables that suit the climate and basic knowledge of planting and harvesting.
Most vegetables will grow well under the sun. Therefore getting a flat plot under the sun will enhance your chance for a good vegetable garden. If you are new to this venture, a garden around 10 feet by 10 feet will be suitable for you. If you don't have a yard, you can well grow the vegetables inside the containers. You have to clear the plot with a hoe or a garden claw to make it free from grass and weeds. Once you have cleared the plot, mix the soil with fertilizer and compost using a tiller or a rake. A good fertilizer will ensure all the nutrients for your plants and the compost improves the drainage that will makes it easier for roots to establish themselves. Once you are ready with the site for your vegetable garden you can start planting the vegetables.
The key to determine the vegetable for your garden is to plant things that you and your family enjoy most. If you want to know, which vegetables will suit your area and climate; you can consult your local co-operative extension service or talk to some farmers. In any way, if you are a beginner, you can start with the easily growing vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, spinach, squash and cucumbers. It must be well noted that plants require more space than you assume. Therefore you must plant the vegetables with considerable space between them. Once the vegetables are planted, you have to water them and put the fertilizers regularly. The appropriate timings for planting and harvesting of the vegetables are listed below.
Radishes can be planted throughout the spring and early summer within an interval of 7-10 days. The best time to harvest radishes is, when their roots come to 1.25 inches in diameter.
Lettuces can be sowed in early spring. They can be plucked when the leaves are tender.
Onions need transplantation from sets or plants at any time. They can be collected when necks are tight and scales are dry.
Peas should be seeded during early spring. They can be gathered when the pods are still tender.
Spinach must be best planted early. It can be harvested when the leaves are still tender.
Cabbages can be transplanted any time during the season. It should be harvested when the heads are solid and stiff.
Broccoli and cauliflower should be transplanted from early to mid April. Broccoli must be harvested while the flower buds are still tight and green. Cauliflower must be harvested while heads are still white.
Carrots can be seeded early or any time during spring and summer. It can be harvested when the tops are one inch in diameter.
Beets and Swiss chard can be planted any time during the growing season. They can be harvested while they are 1.25 to 3 inches in diameter.
Potatoes must be well planted from early to mid April. They can be collected when vines die back.
Sweet Corn must be planted when the temperature of the soil is 60o F and thereafter. They can be reaped when silks are dry and brown. When you cut the kernels with a thumbnail, it must be milky.
Tomatoes must be transplanted during mid-May. They can be plucked, when the fruits are pink or uniformly red.
Peppers and eggplants can be transplanted with the starting of mid -May. Eggplants must be reaped before the color turns dull. Peppers must be collected when the fruits reach the desired size and color.
Summer squashes and cucumbers must be seeded during mid may. It must be harvested when the fruits are 4-6 inches long. Cucumbers can be plucked when the slicing is 6 inches long.
Pumpkins, Muskmelons and Watermelons can be seeded in mid-May. Pumpkins must be plucked when the shells harden and before frost. Muskmelons can be collected when the fruits slip off vine easily. The netting must be even and the fruits must be firm. Watermelons can be reaped when the underside turns yellow and makes a dull sound when slapped.
The vegetables must be stored in good condition after the harvest. When gathering vegetables, be careful not to break, nick or bruise them. The less vegetables are fingered, the longer they will stay in storage. The rotting vegetables cannot be stored for a long time and will spread disease to other vegetables. Therefore it is always better to harvest vegetables of higher quality. Thus the easiest method to take pleasure in your own vegetable garden is at your doorstep.