When was the last time you walked into your local grocery store or supermarket and headed directly for the produce section? Chances are it is every time you go right? As much as we, home vegetable gardeners, would love to grow everything we need to survive, there is always something that we will still need to pick up.
Let’s say that the item in question for our example here is black beauty eggplant. When you walked into the produce section to go pick some up, did you buy thirty of them at once? No of course you didn’t that would be ridiculous! I am going to get into a little technique in a moment that covers this, but for now understand that buying this many of one type of vegetable all at once is impractical.
Why then, on the back of most seed packets do you think they, the seed packagers, want you to plant all of the seeds at one time? An even better question is why they have you plant 3 to 4 seeds in one location and then thin out the pack so to speak. In other words, spread them out. Did you know some varieties of vegetable seeds come nearly 1000 to a pack? That is a whole lot of lettuce to grow at one time.
This method of gardening has been passed down from generation to generation and although it doesn’t make it wrong to still do, it creates more work for you then is necessary. Also, you grow more food than you need. Here are some tips you can implement in your home vegetable garden, to use less space, grow the right amount of food, and use less seeds.
On the back of your zucchini packet it will say to space your zucchini out thirty-six inches. So how wide of a row do you think you will need? Thirty-six inches right? You can maximize your garden space by making rows the width of what you exactly need. If a plant calls for twelve inches, make your row twelve inches and not any more. The only space you will need in between the rows in your home vegetable garden should be the size it takes you to walk between them.
If you need a twelve inch row then the next plant of the same or even a different variety should be no closer than twelve inches correct? So make sure you space out your vegetables properly. If you need twelve, make it twelve, not sixteen or twenty. If you are doing that you are wasting space, and creating room for weeds to grow. Invest in a ruler or tape measure if you have to, but make sure you space those seeds out properly to use only the soil you actually need.
Stagger Your Seeds
Going back to our eggplant example, you do not buy all thirty of them at once so why would you plant all of the seeds at one time. Stagger your plantings of vegetables of the same variety. For example, I like to plant three rows of corn every 4 to 7 days (depending on the weather) so that I have a steady supply of corn throughout the growing season. I use this same technique for all of my other vegetables as well.
Using these three tips above will help you use less of your seeds at one time, utilize more of your ground, and create less work because you will minimize the amount of weeds your home vegetable garden will grow. Give them a try. You won’t be disappointed.
About the Author
Mike is the author of the book “Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person” and the administrator for the largest vegetable gardening group on Facebook. You can now join the Seeds of the Month Club risk-free for three months.
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