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How to Prepare Vegetable Garden?

How to Prepare Vegetable Garden?

How to Prepare Vegetable Garden?
How to Prepare Vegetable Garden?

In the context of setting up a vegetable garden, it is essential to have a piece of soil, vegetable seeds, and certain gardening tools depending on the type of vegetable garden set up. Below you will find a list of tools (non-exhaustive) but also comments on where and how to find them and how to use them.

Seeds

The seeds and the soil are the base of our vegetable garden. As we will make sure that we have a healthy land, it will be also better to have quality seeds and organic. The quality of a seed is reflected by its ability to sprout (called “germinative power”) as well as by its ability to express the characters of its variety (capacity for a tomato seed yellow to make a plant with yellow fruits).

Self-production of seeds

Producing your own seeds is very clearly the preferred solution in the measure of possible. Indeed, it is interesting to produce own seeds for different reasons. You participate in the safeguarding of old varieties, you allow a variety to adapt to the climate and on the ground and you feed insects leaving vegetables to go up in bloom. Self-production is in addition extremely instructive for children. It allows them to understand natural cycles. However, in practice, it is easier to make seeds for some vegetables that for others. It is relatively easy to make one’s seeds tomatoes. A tomato is harvested at maturity and seeds are already ripe in the fruit. See to do not recover tomato seeds from a store because they are mostly hybrids, gold seed production on a hybrid variety causes either a sterile seed or a seed degenerate.

Beans, peas, and beans are also species to favor to make its seeds. In general, these are vegetables that are picked young to taste them (before maturity of the seed). We will let some plants make fruit until complete maturity and let the fruit dry on the plant before harvesting the seeds. Other vegetables like lettuce, spinach, basil, chervil, purslane, lamb’s lettuce … have also the characteristic of not crossing each other with other plants to produce the seeds ( the so-called “autogamous”). So just harvest the seeds once they are mature.

On the other hand, there is a whole series of vegetables for which are crossed between different plants to produce the seeds (“cross-pollinated”), which breeds seeds of poor quality, which does not
exactly similar to the plant on which they are harvested. They can even produce toxic vegetables, for example in the case of a crossing with a colocynth. The vegetables of which the self-production of seeds is complicated by example carrots, onions, cabbage, rocket pumpkin, pumpkin and other squash, … About these vegetables, we invite you to consult the existing literature on the subject to go further in the field of self-production of seeds.

The purchase

There are few seed producers in USA which produce nonhybrid seeds (and therefore reproducible by you). Of these, we recommend seeds of “Seeds” or “Kokopelli”. Their catalogs contain many varieties
vegetables, all organic, non-hybrid, and even old varieties. Choose old varieties helps maintain cultivated biodiversity. Of more, the old and local varieties are often better adapted to our soils and our conditions climate, and therefore more resistant.

soil

The land in which you will cultivate your vegetables must be free from pollution and be rich enough in
organic. If you do not have a piece of land to transform into a vegetable garden within your establishment, it will then be necessary to cultivate bins and fill these with a healthy earth.

Where to get land?

Before buying garden soil, you can inquire at the service “green spaces” from the community. Indeed, certain municipalities support “kitchen projects” by offering them of the soil and/or compost they have. Be aware that any displaced land must legally be healthy (unpolluted), so if the municipality takes the initiative to bring soil, this one is supposed to to be healthy. You can still ask the origin of the soil, which may tell you on its characteristics. Generally, the land that is sold by gardening business providers is often already mixed with compost in proportion variable (30% to 50% compost). In this case, the soil will be fertile enough for the first year of culture, at least.

Gardening tools

To garden in the garden, we will have before all need of our hands. Hands we allow to touch the soil, plants, and any other element present in the garden but also to manipulate the tools we will have
a need to garden. A look at each situation (in the ferry, in the open ground, work with children or adolescents, etc.) will better determine the tools necessary to achieve and the maintenance of the vegetable garden. We invite you to rate these needs according to the work to be done and a number of small hands to put to work.

Privilege the recovery

In a context of a vegetable garden in the ground, the “indispensable” are not always enough. Other tools can then make themselves much more useful. These are mainly tillage tools.

• The spade:

to tend towards practices of cultivation respectful of the life of the soil, it is disadvised
to return the soil by digging it (see page 35). However, a spade may be useful for others
reasons such as moving soil, making a hole to plant a tree, or observing lines
horizon of the soil.

• The Broadfork:

it will be preferred to the spade to open and ventilate the ground. In addition, the grelinette is a lot more ergonomic and easy to use (it requires much less effort). However, on the contrary, the digging, it does not allow to bury the grassing that can undergo a kitchen garden. In order for the work of the Broadfork is easy and effective it is important to roughly weed the plot previously with a hoe or hoe.

• The hoe:

it is the tool that symbolizes the farmer, it can also serve superficially for scalping weeds, only deep to work the soil or for the purpose of some crops To realize our vegetable garden, it is not necessary to ruin yourself to acquire professional tools new, which certe, are more resistant and more comfortable to use but not justified not necessarily for a kitchen garden at school. It is so better to find all the tools left abandoned in garages and garden shelters our families and friends. Shops and websites second hand can then help us to find what is missing in our “hut tools “.

Also be creative:

some tools of your environment can be diverted from their primary goal. The canteen forks can be used as claws to aerate the earth and tablespoons can serve as mini-shovels. Once your tools are assembled, it is necessary to store them away from moisture, in order to keep them the longest time possible. It is therefore advisable to stow them in a tool shed located in the garden or in a room provided for this purpose. In order to keep your tools for a long time in a good condition, it is better to maintain them properly by treating the wooden handles with linseed oil or still sharpening sharp tools at least once a year, but also by cleaning them after each use. Here is a list of useful tools in a vegetable garden, they all have a function but they are not all necessary in your situation.

The indispensable

Watering can, bucket, small claws, small shovels or planters, small pots and potting soil are almost
only necessary tools (at least for cultures in vats) to make a kitchen garden at the school. The number of copies for each tool depends on the group of gardeners. It’s more fun to allow the whole class to be in an active situation.

The classics

In a context of a vegetable garden in the ground, the “indispensable” is not always enough. Other tools can then make themselves much more useful. These are mainly tillage tools.

• The spade:

to tend towards practices of cultivation respectful of the life of the soil, it is disadvised to return the soil by digging it (see page 35). However, a spade may be useful for others reasons such as moving soil, making a hole to plant a tree, or observing lines horizon of the soil.

• The Broadfork:

it will be preferred to the spade to open and ventilate the ground. In addition, the Broadfork is a lot more ergonomic and easy to use (it requires much less effort). However, on the contrary, the digging, it does not allow to bury the grassing that can undergo a kitchen garden. In order for the work of the Broadfork is easy and effective it is important to roughly weed the plot previously with a hoe or hoe (see below).

• The hoe:

it is the tool that symbolizes the farmer, it can also serve superficially for scalping weeds, only in depth to work the soil or for the buttressing of some crops such as leeks and potatoes. This simple but versatile tool is not really suited to the garden at school. It requires some force to use which makes it a little tool effective in the hands of a child.

• The Phiz:

we will use this name as generic for all the tools used for weeding. The hoes are lighter and more maneuverable than the hoes. They are very effective at destroying weeds at a young stage. To destroy large cutlery or lawns, the use of tarpaulins remains the simplest. The hoe, although very important for the garden, is not really useful in the school garden where the surface of the vegetable garden is limited and where hands to occupy are numerous. Manual weeding remains the simplest and most fun part of a vegetable garden at school.

• The fork:

less useful in a school setting, it can be used to move mulch or mount a pile of compost.

• Fork-up:

very convenient for digging up root vegetables that grows in the ground like carrots or potatoes, and to return a bunch of compost.

• Rake:

useful for leveling cultivated beds after tillage.

• The leaf rake:

can be very useful for raking turfgrass invaded by fallen leaves. autumn. The leaves thus collected will serve as mulch in the kitchen garden (see p.35), or “dry and brown” material to balance the compost.

Culture plans

Before embarking on the cultivation of the vegetable garden, it is necessary to understand how works a natural ecosystem to be able to play in a plan of culture. Then four major types of cultivation plan are presented. They are all adaptable to culture on a ferry and on the ground. They are classified from the simplest to the most complex to put in place, the former is, therefore, more affordable for the youngest and for teachers beginners.

Let’s take a step back …

In nature, plants colonize spontaneously most of the environments on the soil. Depending on whether the soil is poor or rich, acidic or basic, clayey or sandy, with good water retention capacity or not, we will have different types of vegetation occupying space. The amount of light available, the altitude, the average temperature, wind exposure and rainfall will also determine the type of plants that will be dominant in the middle. A multitude of living beings, adapted to environmental conditions, in connection with the vegetation present, will settle to form together an ecosystem.

If the conditions of life change significantly, the balance of the ecosystem will be disrupted and the whole living beings characterizing the medium will have to change, and this happens so continues in any natural environment. What happens on an active volcano constitutes a very illustrative example of this dynamic of permanent changes and interactions. After an eruption, the stone formed by the cooled lava is colonized by plants supporting extreme conditions at the poverty level of the soil, drought, direct sunlight and strong climatic variations (intense heat the day followed by cold at night, powerful winds without natural barriers to temper their strength, …). This first plant community will allow progressively to other species, more demanding in terms of the richness of the soil, to come to settle down, thanks to the creation of humus it will cause on the surface (accumulation of leaves, stems and dead fruit, mosses that keep moisture and small organisms decomposing at the end of their life). This natural phenomenon called “Plant succession”  will continue until the forest colonization that will take centuries.

The phenomenon of plant succession can be reproduced on a relatively long time scale brief in our vegetable garden if we modify the living conditions, for example by enriching our soil by adding compost or leaving the middle to close again (appearance of trees and shrubs decreasing the access of light to ground). We will be able to observe this phenomenon by identifying wild plants (called “Weeds“) that develop at the garden to understand how the situation changes according to our interventions.

Conclusion

It’s really worth taking the time to learn to recognize wild plants that grow around our vegetables, as they can help us better understand if everything goes well on our plot and why. That is all the more valid as most offer unsuspected services (edible, medicinal products, wild green manures or used for making natural, honey-based fertilizers for bees, insect shelters useful for the kitchen garden such as the natural predators of the pests of our vegetables, … – see sheet 10 “Bad herbs? “). We can naturally change the living conditions of our fruits and vegetables within of the vegetable garden to better satisfy their needs basic.

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