It’s easy to plant a seed in the ground and watch it grow, but nursing an entire garden to fruitful life takes a bit more work! To grow big and productive, plants need plenty of space, the perfect amount of water, and the right kind of food. Thankfully, balancing these needs is easy once you get the hang of it! Here are some tips to help you maximize your garden and produce beautiful veggies that you can use in your own kitchen and share with others in your community.

Grow Vertically

If you’re gardening in a limited area, like an apartment balcony, maximize your use of growing space by supporting your vegetables on vertical supports.

● You can grow all kinds of fresh ingredients in a small apartment space.
● Several different vegetables are happy growing on a trellis, including pole beans, snap peas, and cucumbers.
● Use tomato cages  to direct your plants upwards and support the weight of your harvest.
● If you’re growing melons and squash vertically, make sure your support system is strong and secure.
Hanging baskets are great for growing trailing vegetables and herbs!

Mulch Your Plants

Soil dries out quickly during the hot summer months, leaving plants thirsty and wilted. Keep the moisture in the soil with good mulch!

● Besides regulating the moisture in your soil, mulching will insulate it from heat and suppress weed growth.
● Choose the right type of mulch for the plants you plan to grow.
● Apply a two-inch layer of mulch to your garden beds and try not to go overboard.
● In autumn, mulch your garden again to prevent weeds and add nutrients to the soil.

Master Proper Watering Techniques

Over- or under-watering plants is an extremely common problem among gardeners. Make sure your plants get just the right amount to drink!

Water your plants heavily and infrequently so roots will grow deep below the soil.
● The early morning is the very best time to water your plants.
● Consider installing an irrigation system to take the guesswork out of watering.

Feed Your Plants

Besides water, plants also need food. Provide the right nutrients for your plants and they will return the favor when you eat them!

● Add compost to your soil at the beginning of the growing season and again at the end.
● You can continue to fertilize your garden throughout the growing season.
● Remember to test your soil annually so you can amend it before planting.
● If you want to produce organic vegetables, remember to use only organic fertilizers!

There’s nothing better than eating fresh vegetables that you grew in your own backyard. Whether you consider yourself a green thumb gardener or this is your first time digging around in the dirt, there are several things you can do to ensure a productive harvest this year. So get out there and start planting!