6 Tips To Step Up Your Gardening Efforts This Year

You've been gardening for a couple of years and are ready to make your garden something you'll be proud to show off to others. Now is a good time to start planning how to create that showcase garden. These tips will produce a vegetable garden that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Maximize the Use of Space

Whatever amount of space you use for your garden can likely be used more efficiently by mixing the plants. For example, tomatoes need a lot of space between each plant because of their extensive root system. Carrots and onions need a limited amount of space. Plant your tomatoes first, then plant a narrow-root plant like onions or carrots in between the tomatoes. The plants won't compete with each other and you'll get more produce from your garden space.

Separate the Garden and Yard Space

Dig a shallow trench around your garden bed and fill it with loose gravel. This creates a border between the yard and the garden which makes the care of each area easier. The gravel will stop some yard pests from entering the garden. It will also help to trap water runoff from the garden and keep more of the moisture within the space.

Use Raised Rows to Make Maintenance Easier

Layout the garden so each row is raised slightly above the base of the garden. This creates a valley between rows which makes weeding easier and channels water through the garden and not just off to the sides.

Automate the Watering

Have a company that specializes in sprinkler installation (such as Santos Landscaping) put in a drip or furrow irrigation system on a timer. Visions of hand watering your garden are picturesque, but you'll waste water through runoff and evaporation, and you may not water when the plants need it. An automated watering system takes the variables away so your garden always gets the right of moisture.

Start a Compost Pile

Stop using chemical fertilizers and switch over to nutrient-rich compost. This natural fertilizer adds the right balance of nutrients to the soil so you don't have to worry about the soil becoming too rich in some chemicals and depleted in others.

Use Natural Pesticides

Cut down even more on your use of chemicals by making your own organic pesticides. Liquid soap, water and lemon juice makes a natural spray pesticide for flying insects and ants. Add chili pepper and garlic to this mixture for an effective defense against slugs and beetles. Baking soda, oil and water work against plant fungus. Make a list of the common garden pests in your area and research the home recipes most effective against them.

With a little planning, you'll have a garden that is easy to maintain that produces an abundance of vegetables. You'll use fewer chemicals and your plants will be healthier. Step up your garden activities this year and have more fun with the space.