Farmer Phil's Veggie Varieties
Farmer Phil's Herb Varieties

How to Grow Farmer Phil's Veggies & Herbs

While some veggies and herbs need special attention, most have basic rules that are common to all. Good site location and preparation are keys to a successful garden.

1. Get Your Soil Tested.

Your local county extension service can help in testing your soil to tell you what if anything needs to be added to the soil before you plant your garden. Your garden center may also know where to get the test done. Make sure you tell them that the garden is to be used for vegetables.

2. Location Location Location

Vegetable gardens need to be located in full sun away from buildings and trees and shrubs that can shade the plants during the day. Also trees and shrubs can rob your soil of water and fertilizer intended for the plants.

3. Soil Preparation. 

The garden soil needs to be fertile, high in organic matter, have good drainage and be free of weeds. Now is the time to add any of the amendments that your soil test results suggested. A little work at this stage will be instrumental in the success of your garden. Add the amendments, turn over the soil and remove the rocks and weeds then add your organic matter and rake the soil level. The garden is ready to plant.

4. Weed Free

After all your work of preparing your soil, picking your plants and planting your garden it can all go to ruin if the weeds invade and choke out your  vegetables. You need to come up with a plan to keep them out of your garden so the vegetables get all the benefit of your work. Although hoeing is the standard answer to weeds it also is the most time consuming and if not done correctly not the best way to spend your afternoons in the sun. We suggest the use of some kind of mulch to provide a barrier  between your soil and the weeds. There are different kinds and you can pick one or a combination to keep the garden weed free.

Plastic, comes in sheets or rolls and in different colors. If you use plastic some kind of water tape needs to be put under it to water the plants.

Fabric, like plastic weed barrier comes in rolls but is porous so you can water from the top without the tape. Both need to have the edges buried  to keep the wind from blowing it away.

Leaves, hay, grass clippings, peat moss etc. These are good to use around the plants and between rows. A thick layer is needed and as they decompose they will use some of the feed intended for the plants but you can add a bit more feed to overcome that. Make sure whichever organic material you use it came from a disease free source. At the end of the season you can turn the mulch in and it will help your soil next year.

5. Water and Feed

During times of low rainfall the plants will need to be irrigated. A good soaking once a week is better than a little each day. You need to get the water deep enough in the soil so it reaches the roots. If you haven’t done enough the plants will still wilt and then you need to add more. Water early in the day to let the plants dry off, that keeps diseases from getting started.

6. Insects and Diseases

 In a well balanced environment insects will not be a problem as natural or beneficial insects will take care of the critters that will harm your plants. Occasionally though you will have outbreaks that need some additional help. Your Garden Center will have a professional that can help you in deciding what the best plan is.
Diseases are better treated preventatively for the most part and when done this way are really not time consuming. This usually involves applying an organic compound once a week or less. Again your Garden Center professional will have the products you are looking for.

Things to Consider

  • What is the time of year and your growing zone?
  • Will the plants be annuals or perennials?
  • Do the plants need sun or shade to grow?
  • What’s their type of soil?
  • How much weeding and pest control will you need to do?
  • Will you need to add mulch to certain plants?
  • Will these plants need winter care?
  • What are the most effective harvesting and storing methods?

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