Garden Designs – What You Need to Plan For

Your garden design will depend a great deal on the space you have available. If you have a large yard, you have nearly unlimited choices as to the layout of the garden. If your yard is small, you will have to be a little more creative, perhaps using an edible garden landscape approach. If you live on a steep hill, you will need to terrace.

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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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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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Your Garden Calendar

Even within the same state, climates are different. For example, Flagstaff, Arizona has about a 2-month growing season due to the altitude (7,000+ feet). During the summer it rarely gets above 82 degrees F and the daily rain during the monsoon season (between Independence Day and Labor Day) is cold and often contains ice pellets. Winters are cold and harsh, and they’ve seen blizzard conditions in early June. We’ve lived there, we know! Two hours south (and 5,000 feet lower) in Phoenix you can grow vegetables pretty much year-round and 112 degree temperatures during the summer are fairly common. Winter there means maybe having to put on a pair of socks or long pants for a couple weeks.

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Growing Herbs 101

There’s nothing quite like an herb garden. Not only do herbs ward off some pests who are repelled by their strong scent, they just look beautiful, and the taste of fresh herbs in your cooking cannot be beat. You will wonder how you ever cooked with that dried stuff in the bottles at the supermarket.

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Your Garden Journal

Don’t rely on computer records for this. By all means, if your handwriting is atrocious and you prefer to type up your notes, go right ahead. But print them out. Do you really want to have to run to your computer, covered in soil and bug remnants, to look up something in your garden journal on the fly? We didn’t think so. Buy a three-ring binder. Preferably a sturdy, thick one, because the journal will only grow over time. Sheet protectors are a good idea, too, as they keep things nice and clean. Keep all of your records – handwritten or printed out from your computer – organized for quick and easy reference.

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Garden Tools – Care and Storage

If you’re going to spend the money on the proper tools for your garden, you will certainly want to make sure and take excellent care of them while they’re actively being used, and properly clean and store them while they are not.

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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 – Beneficial Birds, Bees, and Bugs

Bees help pollinate your crops, and birds and certain bugs feed on other bugs that would otherwise eat your crops, so you want a bird-, bee-, and beneficial-bug-friendly garden. These helpers will not completely get rid of garden pests, but they will enhance your food security by preventing a full-blown infestation from occurring.

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Garden Tools You Will Need – Harvesting

Simply yanking your vegetables off the branch or out of the ground is not the proper technique for harvesting your crops. Unless we’re talking about corn. Then it’s pretty much twist and yank the ear off the stalk. The rest of the time, however, using the proper tools is the safest way to harvest your crops with minimal damage to not only the remaining plant but to what you just harvested. You don’t want to bruise or crush your produce.

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