Garden Tools You Will Need – Planting and Tending Your Crops

Whether you intend to start seeds indoors and then transplant outside, or purchase young plants to transplant as soon as you get them home, or you plan to sow seeds directly in the soil, these are the basics you will need to plant and tend your vegetable garden.

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Cover Crops

Green manure is not fresh out of the horse. In fact, it’s not even manure. It’s another name given to cover crops, or crops that are planted for one reason only: to benefit garden soil. Think of it as a grow-your-own organic fertilizer, literally. Cover crops also stabilize soil and attract beneficial bugs, providing them with food and shelter.

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Garden Pest Control – Organic Pesticides, Commercial

If your homemade sprays have proven ineffective, the next step is to bring out the big guns, or in this case, the commercial organic pesticides. Chemicals are chemicals, so what is the difference between organic (natural) pesticides and non-organic (synthetic) pesticides? While both are indeed chemicals, the organic chemicals are made from natural mineral or plant substances, and most are quickly broken down and do not harm the environment over the long-term like the synthetic varieties do.

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Garden Tools You Will Need: Garden Preparation

Our first garden was something of a miracle, really, considering the only tools we had were a shovel, 4 hands and 4 feet. Oh, and an old broom handle – helpful for drawing planting lines and digging planting holes. Yeah, we were that poor.

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Trellises and Plant Supports

Whether you plan to use the stake-and-string method, wire cages, trellises, some homegrown contraption you’ve cobbled together from two-by-fours, duct tape and dental floss…or all of the above…the one thing they all have in common is the need to have them in place BEFORE you plant!

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Garden Pest Control – Barriers

While companion planting, introducing beneficial insects, and attracting pest-killing birds to your vegetable garden will certainly help control garden pests, you may need to go a step or two further and install some barriers for plant protection.

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Garden Pest Control – Organic Pesticides, Homemade

When should you use an organic pesticide? If and when everything else has failed. Start with homemade and work your way up to commercial if you have to.

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Crop Rotation

Crop rotation is perhaps the single best way to fight disease and pest problems that can plague your vegetable crops. Ideally, you will have several separate areas, beds, patches, or sections in your garden so that you can rotate your crops around in order to prevent the same crops from being repeatedly grown in the same place. This also gives your soil a chance to recover each season.

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Garden Seeds – Heirloom, Organic, or What?

First of all, “bargain bin” seeds are no bargain. If you see packets of vegetable seed marked down to a ridiculously low price, ask yourself why they’re marked down. It might be that the retailer is trying to get rid of seeds that didn’t sell well (maybe rutabagas aren’t all that popular in your area and the retailer bought too many wholesale, for instance)…but chances are, they’re old seeds that may or may not germinate when planted. Look at the date on the seed packet, and if it’s last year, don’t buy them. Only buy seeds that are meant to be planted this year.

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Tilling Your Garden – Go Deep!

One of the best things you can do for your brand-new garden before you plant a single seed is to double till your patch. We don’t mean till it twice along the surface, we mean till it twice as deep. About 2 feet deep. Urban and suburban soil has been covered with lawn, compacted and neglected below the surface. If you want a bountiful harvest from fertile soil, you have to peel off the lawn and dig deep to bring your soil back to life.

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