You carefully chose your garden seedlings, thoughtfully planted them in the ground, but now what do you do?!
To get the best out of your garden, whether it’s a few pots of herbs, or a large plot, tender loving care is paramount. Read on for Farmer Jo’s tips for caring for your garden and ensuring a fruitful harvest!
Irrigation: One inch of water per week is the magic number. That’s how much water your garden needs on average to thrive. If you are so inclined, you can determine the flow rate of your hose and calculate how long it will take to reach the desired soaking (try this calculator). Or, you can buy or make a rain gauge and use that to determine if your garden is getting enough water.
Either way, it’s important to connect with your soil, digging in with your hands, to see what’s happening below the surface. Check to see if the water is pooling anywhere. Are you watering sufficiently but the soil is still dry underneath? These observations are key to the success of your garden.
Weed Control: What is a weed really? It’s just anything you don’t want in your patch of garden! There are three main approaches to dealing with weeds and limit their ability to take over your garden.
Mulching: Mulching is simply covering the soil with a layer of organic material in order to discourage weed growth. Straw, dry leaves, wood chips, grass clippings, or even cardboard can be used as mulch, just taking care to apply a sufficient amount of the material to block light from the soil. Mulching also helps retain moisture and creates a perfect habitat for beneficial creatures, like earthworms.
Cultivate, Don’t Weed: If mulching isn’t an option for you then keeping on top of weed germination early is key. The goal is to catch a weed early in its development to disrupt the growing cycle before it really has a chance to start. Regular shallow cultivation will keep weeds down without disrupting soil life deeper down. Click here for a cultivation demonstration with Farmer Jo.
Cover Cropping: You know Farmer Jo’s feelings on cover crops! We love them for weed control, to cover bare ground, and to add nutrients to the soil, and you can cover crop your home garden too! Take a look at this handy chart to determine which cover crop is right for you, and come find the seed at the Farm Store.
Our main pest control tool at the Farm is insect netting, a fine mesh that lets the sun and rain in but the bugs out! It’s not always easy to find in small quantities for home gardens, but we have it to purchase by the foot in the Farm Store. All you have to do is lay it over your plants and pin the edges down with soil or rocks. Just make sure you’re still checking on your plants to make sure insects haven’t snuck under and to keep on top of weeding!
Fertilisation: We all like snacks, and your plants do too! Most of your vegetables will benefit from receiving small amounts of fertiliser throughout the season, particularly those in pots. Giving exact fertiliser recommendations requires starting out with an official soil analysis, but using our fertilisation chart will give you an idea of when to fertilise, what to fertilise with, and the plants that will benefit most from a boost. You’ll find our favourite organic fertilisers in the Farm Store.
Farmer Jo loves to talk all things gardening and growing, so if you have any questions about your home garden please come and chat in the Farm Store!