‘Garden of Eating’
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- 20 April 2017
A Vegetable Garden Guide-
Vegetable gardening offers fresh air, sunshine, exercise, enjoyment, mental therapy, nutritious fresh vegetables, and economic savings, as well as many other benefits.
Vegetables can be grown year-round in Barbados.
Steps in Gardening: Site For convenience, locate the garden near the house on a well-drained site close to a source of water and in a location that receives at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. With proper care, vegetables may also be included in the landscape among ornamental plants. Where possible, rotate the garden from place to place to help control soil diseases and other pests.
Plan before Planting: Draw a garden plan that includes the name, location, and planting date(s) of the vegetables you want to grow. Make a list of supplies you need to purchase. Suggested vegetables to plant: beans, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, kale, lettuce, okra, onions, peas, peppers, pumpkin, spinach, squash, tomatoes etc. (Visit Nature Care Garden Centre for said supplies ).
Soil Preparation: Gardeners often plant on whatever soil type is available, but it is usually worthwhile to improve the garden plot with additions of organic matter. Spade or plow the plot, rework the soil into a smooth, firm surface.
Organic Matter: Most soils are low in organic matter and therefore benefit from the addition of organic matter such as animal manure, rotted leaves, compost or commercial soil mixes.
Fertilizing: Unless very large quantities of organic matter are applied, commercial synthetic fertilizer is usually needed. (Visit Nature Care Garden Centre for said supplies )
Pest Management: Pests in the vegetable garden include weeds, insects, mites, diseases, nematodes, and even animals such as birds that might consume the vegetable crop. A gardener has many options for reducing pest problems. Pesticides can be harmful to people, pets, beneficial insects, and the natural environment and should be used only after all other pest-management steps have been taken:
1. Keep plants growing vigorously and in a state of good health by supplying appropriate amounts of water and fertilizer. A healthy plant is often able to survive insect attacks. Too much nitrogen, however, can make plants more inviting to aphids and whiteflies.
2. Monitor or scout the garden often for pest problems. This includes inspecting the plants from the bud to the soil, including both upper and lower leaf surfaces.
3. Plant flowers in the vegetable garden. They provide nectar and pollen that attract beneficial insects (such as bees, spiders, ladybugs, etc…).
4. Remove large insects by hand and destroy.
5. Watch for early disease symptoms. Remove any diseased leaves or plants to slow spread.
6. Harvest ripe crops promptly. Allowing over-ripe fruits to remain on the plants often invites additional insect problems.
7. Control slugs with products containing iron phosphate. Products with metaldehyde as the active ingredient are extremely toxic to animals, such as dogs that may be attracted to the bait.
Using Pesticides Wisely: If you choose to use pesticides. Follow the pesticide label directions carefully.
Happy Planting: Nature Care Garden Centre carries a wide range of vegetable seeds, compost/soil mixes, garden tools and accessories. We look forward to helping you create your ideal vegetable garden.