How to Maintain Your Vegetable Garden
Follow the instructions on the label to mix the chemical to the right concentration. Do not add more than the rate specified because this may reduce its effectiveness. Repeat applications only according to the frequency written on the label. After any pesticide is applied to a crop, a certain period must pass before the crop can be harvested and eaten or sent to market.
This is the keep-out period. For some pesticides it is only one day, but for others it may be two weeks. Poisoning may occur if the crop is eaten inside the keep-out period. If children or animals cannot be kept away from the crop, do not use the pesticides. Keep pesticides safely locked away from children to avoid poisoning. If there is pesticide left over in the tank after spraying, pour it out but make sure you do this away from streams and ponds so that it does not poison the water and fish.
Food crops need protection from animals and sometimes from people. The idea behind a living fence is that certain plants make good fences and at the same time produce useful things for people, for livestock and for soil improvement. Table I lists some plants for making living fences.
Some people make good fences using living plants as well as wood or bamboo poles. In most villages there are home gardens with living fences which can be good examples to follow. Goats usually roam free in the village but they can cause much damage in the home garden. Fences should be erected around vegetable areas and food crops.
A living fence of lamtoro Leucaena sp.
Another kind of fence can be made with sticks of cassava bound with bamboo strips. Wild pigs are smart and they particularly like root crops. One way to deter pigs is with a thick fence of plants that have spines or thorns, such as salak, pineapple or pandanus. Chickens are usually left free to scavenge for food, including insects and seeds, but they will also strip leaves from plants and seriously damage vegetables and young plants.
Figure 5 Protect root crops by placing coconut around the base of the plant. Overlapping the planting times of several different crops in the same place will provide a year-round supply of food crops and vegetables. In large-scale farming, monocropping is common because of the ease of planting and harvesting, but there are problems of weeds and pest attack. Multiple cropping has been practiced for food crops in many countries and is useful in the home garden.
Growing different crops together minimizes pest problems and makes efficient use of soil nutrients. Legumes such as beans will provide some nitrogen nutrient to other crops such as maize or tomato when planted together. Some plants such as chili, garlic and marigold flowers can keep certain pests away from neighbouring plants.
These companion plants and others can be mixed into or around a planted area. Plants belonging to the same family should not be planted repeatedly in exactly the same place for more than two years, otherwise pests and diseases will build up in the soil. Table I shows some of the family groups of plants for rotating around the garden; for example they may be replanted in the next row. It is best to plant legumes before crops of the other families see Home Garden Technology Leaflet 12 for more information. Cassava, maize and other food crops can be inter planted between other crops.
Tree crops such as coconut, citrus and cinnamon can be planted 6 to 10 m apart. The area in between is good for other crops such as coffee or cocoa, but especially for regular interplanting of annual food crops e. Monocrop tree crops such as oil palm can be interplanted for the first five to six years, after which they can be underplanted with cover crops.
The sequence of crops planted should follow the changes in season during the year, especially rainy seasons. As a guide for home gardens where hand watering supplements rainfall, crops should be planted in beds or rows according to the example sequences in Table 2. In the dry season, leaf crops should be planted in the shade and crops such as mung bean and cassava in beds that are watered less frequently.
A small area of 30 to 40 m 2 can provide a household with fresh vegetables all year. The idea is to grow different kinds of vegetables one after another on well-fertilized beds. Mark out the square into four planting beds, about I m wide and 5 m long. The beds should be as wide as you can easily manage, leaving some room for paths in between.
Cultivate the soil in the beds down to at least 20 cm. Break up the soil with the back of a hoe until it is fine and loose. Mix in about 5 kg of good compost per square metre of bed and add some fine topsoil to raise the level of the bed to about 20 cm above the path. Now you are ready to plant. Make a fence around the vegetable square to keep out wandering animals before any seedlings come up.
Choose crops that will provide good daily nutrition see Home Garden Technology Leaflet 3 and that the family likes to eat. Remember that tall and ground-level plants can be grown together in a multilayer system, such as long bean on poles above cucumber, or eggplant above sweet potato.
Plan the schedule of planting according to the growing time for each type of vegetable see Table 1. Plant vegetables that can be harvested together in the same place. Alternatively, plant fruit vegetables e. Small seeds e. Alternatively, they can be germinated in a seed bed or nursery and transplanted as seedlings to the garden bed. Larger seeds beans, pumpkin can be planted directly into the garden bed. Seedlings may require shade from direct sun in the first week if there are no trees around the vegetable square. A coconut frond supported by sticks will provide good shade.
After seedlings emerge, the bed should be covered with mulch to protect the soil from becoming too hot and drying out the plants. Mulch will also reduce weeds. Plants of the same family should not be planted repeatedly in exactly the same place for more than two years, otherwise pests and diseases will build up in the soil.
Table 2 shows some of the main groups of plants that should be planted in another bed after one or two growing seasons. It is best to plant legumes before crops of the other families because they increase nitrogen nutrients in the soil see Home Garden Technology Leaflet The multilayer structure of natural forest is built up over many years. There are tall trees, medium sized trees and shrubs, climbing vines and leafy shade plants in the shade. This layered structure uses all the sun light available for plant growth, thereby reducing weeds, and keeps the soil healthy.
- Just Older.
- How Much Land Do You Really Need to Be Self Sufficient?.
- Planning a vegetable patch that produces all year round in Australia?
- Related Books.
- Growing Enough Food to Feed a Family?
In the home garden, the layers can be filled with plants that are of daily use to the household. This system mixes plants with short, medium and long terms before maturity and harvest, similar to multiple cropping see Home Garden Technology Leaflet Figures I and 2 show some ideas for designing parts of the home garden using a system of mixed planting. Plants for different levels are shown in Table 1 p. The construction of a frame for climbing plants allows the area underneath to be planted. The roof of a stable can also be used' for example.
Fruit- and nut-trees are special in the home garden because, unlike vegetables, they will produce for many years. Fruits and nuts are good sources of vitamins, minerals, fats and oils and protein. Fruit is a good snack food for children. Trees are also useful for shade, timber and as a support for climbing plants such as yam, pepper or passionfruit. A selection of different kinds of tree will produce fruit at different times of the year, so the availability of food is spread out.
Make Your Bed
All plants grow best where the conditions suit them. Trees occupy the middle and upper layers of the garden and most of them prefer full sunlight. Crops can be planted underneath or between fruit-trees to maximize garden production see also Home Garden Technology Leaflet 13, Multilayer cropping. Trees can be grown on a range of soil types because they are able to find nutrients and water deep in the soil.
Vegetable Garden Maintenance
Most fruit-trees do not tolerate wetland banana is an exception. On wetland, dig out canals and use the soil to make raised beds between the canals. Plant fruit-trees such as citrus on the raised beds. Young trees will grow faster if they are sheltered from strong winds or salty winds from the sea. Flowers and fruit can also be knocked off trees such as sugar apple, mango and citrus by too much wind. However, some fruit- and nut-trees such as jackfruit, tamarind and coconut can be planted as living fences and as shelter for other crops.
When selecting seedling or grafted varieties of fruit-trees for a home garden, study the characteristics of the tree's parents. Always choose healthy-looking trees with straight roots if buying from a nursery. Some things to consider are:. Is there fruit all year or only once a year'? Is this a time when other food is plentiful or in short supply'? Will the tree suit the conditions in your garden'? Can you grow crops under it or will the leaves block out too much light?
Does the variety have strong branches or do they hang down and put the fruit too close to the ground? Will the fruit be easy to harvest? Find out if there are any pests and diseases and how to manage them.
Related Make Your Garden Feed You
Copyright 2019 - All Right Reserved