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Spring has officially sprung, even though most days it doesn’t feel like it yet. It’s still time to start thinking about what kind of produce we want to be adding to your garden this year. For most people, the produce that we grow in our garden is the same every year. We plant what we know our families will eat, but the real question is, are you doing everything before and after to make sure you have the best soil for your produce to be growing in? Some people don’t give this a second thought. They just go about and plant their gardens in the same spot and same ways every year. Did you know a garden is just like our flower beds and needs some extra help in the nutrient department every so often?
To make sure that you are giving your garden everything it needs to produce healthy and good fresh produce, you need to add fertilizers. Now, fertilizers can be many different things. The best to use in gardens is probably composted manure. Every time we clean out the barn the some of the manure goes straight to the compost pile. With the manure is also dead leaves, grass clippings, old food, and old mulch mixed in. Each year after all our produce is done in the fall, we will place compost on top of the garden soil and till it in. This mixes the current soil and compost to ensure nutrients get spread throughout the soil. By doing this, we have seen and ate some of the best produce off of our garden.
Not only is it important to fertilize your soil, but it is also important to remember crop rotation. Farmers farming large fields do the same exact thing. If they plant one crop one year, they will rotate to a different crop the next. This simply just helps with managing your nutrient levels and making sure you are preventing crop-specific pests and diseases from building up under the soil and carrying over to the next year. When you have a larger garden as we do, you don’t find this task very hard. You simply just rearrange the way you plant each year. If you have a small garden, it might be a little harder to crop rotate every year. In a case like this, you can look at doing it every couple of years or moving your garden completely in a different spot every few years. You may not physically see any difference, but if you don’t do this, then you will notice you might start struggling to grow fresh, healthy produce
The last thing that we look at before plantings our produce is the time that which produce should be planted. It is different for everyone depending on where you live, but it is simple to go online and get your gardening calendar, so you have one to follow as well. This is mainly just used as a timeline that way you know when your produce can be planted and what the expected harvest time will be. Most produce has a large window of when you can plant your produce, but it gives you a good idea to know what your last possible timing is to have the produce in the ground to get a good harvest off of it. I have included a picture showing, in this area, what the gardening time frame is for different produce.