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Vegetable Gardening Hints, August 15 2017
August 15, 2017

Are you watering properly?

It is important to take the time everyday to observe your plants, that way you can quickly fix what could be wrong. If you have young transplants you need to be giving them a drink of water everyday as their roots are very shallow and the top few inches of your soil can dry out very quickly. Once your vegetable plants have begun to mature watering them once a week is usually sufficient. For some plants it is best to stop watering them altogether once they have matured for example onions and potatoes need less water as they get close to maturity.

Learn more of the best ways to water your garden.

Signs of under watering:

- The plants appear small and very slow growing.

- The vegetable plants are not producing very many fruits, seeds or bud and the ones being produced are often misshapen.

- Your plants are diseased.

- The plants are yellowish or pale in colour rather than have a bright colour.

- Your plants are wilting. Some natural wilting may occur in the heat of the day, however if they do not perk up by late afternoon you have a problem.

Too little water can lead to poor root development, which will make for an unhealthy plant. Take the time to walk through your veggie garden at different times of the day to make sure your plants appear strong, have a bright colour, and look healthy.

Over watering can be a concern:

There are some clear signs that your plants are not getting enough water, however over watering your vegetable garden can also be a concern. Most gardeners go to great lengths to make sure there are enough nutrients added to their garden beds in the form of amendments and fertilizers. When the soil is moist the water helps to hold the nutrients to rock particles in the soil so the plant roots can absorb them. If there is too much water in the soil it drains lower into the soil taking a lot to the nutrients with it, this is called leaching.

Vegetable plant roots grow to different depths but most do not grow below two and a half feet. If the excess water has washed away the nutrients there is less nourishment available for the roots to absorb. Without proper food the plant will not grow and mature as you may expect it to. Along with moisture in the soil plants need good air circulation in order for the plant to have access to oxygen and to release carbon dioxide. If the soil is saturated then the water is filling up all the space in the soil leaving no room for air circulation. If the air supply is cut off for any length of time the plant roots will rot killing the plant.

The bottom line is gardeners need to know their own soil conditions. When it comes to moisture it is good to keep a record of rainfall and regularly check the moisture in your soil either with a moisture meter (small tool that can be purchased at your local garden center) or by digging into the soil with your hands or a small shovel to see how far down the moisture is then water when needed.

If you are a beginner gardener it can take time to get to know your soil and climate so initially it is important to take the time to observe and jot down some notes so you can refer back to them the following season.

My community garden update:

I started growing in a community plot in my new neighbourhood in Vancouver, British Columbia Canada. The area is approx. 20 square feel in size.

Over the past month I have had a very productive harvest cucumbers, kale, swiss chard and more lettuce. started Brussel sprouts from seed and plan to move them to the cucumber area once they are finished. I pulled out my peas and replace the area with Iacinto kale. Unfortunately something munched on them so hopefully they will survive. have a small plot so have been giving the soil organic fertilizer when one are is finished.

I have been enjoying my english cucumbers.

Enjoying my chives and planted cilantro for harvest in later August.

Replaced my peas with lacinto kale transplants. Planted July 29 along with Brussel sprouts, arugula and lettuce seeds.

Carrots and beets planted July 21 for fall harvest

Online coaching available.

Do you have questions about certain aspects of your garden, or need some direction on how to get your garden started? Let's have a face to face conversation via Skype? I offer online coaching sessions.

Catherine recommends her book:

How to improve your Garden Soil

Why is Soil so Important is a great new book giving simple and easy instructions on making and keeping your garden soil healthy.

Catherine's bio

Other vegetable gardening books written by Catherine Abbott, Your Vegetable Gardening Helper.

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Happy gardening!


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