7 Simple ways to boost yields in your vegetable garden
03/25/2022 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
7 Simple ways to boost yields in your vegetable garden

Maintaining a home garden requires a lot of time and energy, and all gardeners want massive yields come harvest time. If you want to ensure a bountiful harvest, read on to learn seven ways you can improve garden production.

Grow plants that suit your hardiness zone

If you’re new to gardening, it might be tempting to plant all your favorite crops in your garden. But before you buy seeds or seedlings, check if the plants you want to grow can survive in your area since not all types of plants will do well in your growing zone.

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When choosing crops for your home garden, consider how much sunlight and rainfall your garden receives. Most vegetables and herbs need at least six hours of sun. On the other hand, some plants like lettuce and spinach do best in a cooler location or in partial shade.

If you’re not sure where to start, check at your local agricultural extension office, garden clubs or nurseries to learn more about the specific varieties that will thrive in your area. You should also ask about what pests and diseases are common in your area.

Try succession planting

Succession planting is a growing method that will help maximize the amount of fresh produce that you can harvest in a growing area. This method utilizes the efficient use of time and space to produce high-level results.

Consider succession planting if you’re garden is in a small space or if you want to maximize the time and energy you spend in your garden.

There are four methods of succession planting:

Same vegetable, staggered plantings

With this method, you need to space out plantings of the same vegetable every two to four weeks.

Instead of planting an entire row of beans all at once, plant part of the row at the beginning of the season and then plant the rest after two to four weeks. This ensures that you have a new crop continually coming in.

When the first plants start to flag, replant that area with beans or use it for a different crop.

Different vegetables planted in succession

Certain crops like peas have short growing seasons. The space they were using can then be replanted with a later season crop, like eggplants.

Here are the best vegetables for succession plantings:

  • Arugula
  • Basil
  • Beets
  • Broccoli raab
  • Carrots
  • Chicory
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Endive
  • Green onions
  • Kale
  • Kohlrabi
  • Lettuce
  • Mizuna
  • Mustard,
  • Pole beans
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Turnips

Paired vegetables planted in the same spot

Try seeding the early season vegetable at the same time you are planting. Intercropping or pairing up plants helps maximize productivity in your vegetable garden.

Plant the same vegetable at different maturity rates

You can keep your harvest coming in by choosing more than one variety of a crop and making them early-, mid- and late-season varieties. Check the seed packet or read the “days to maturity” number.

Crops like corn, summer squash, tomatoes and other vegetables can be staggered throughout the growing season this way.

Vegetables to plant with different maturity dates include:

  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Corn
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Melon
  • Peas
  • Pole beans
  • Summer squash
  • Tomatoes

Maximize your garden space

Gardening in long rows is a traditional method for growing vegetables, but it’s more effective when you’re maintaining a large farm with farming equipment.

For your home garden, try planting vegetables in three to four-foot-wide raised beds. This gives you better access to each bed while also saving room compared to row planting.

Check seed packets and seed catalogs list for more information on how close you can safely plant vegetables next to each other. If you’re not sure, give each individual plant enough room to grow.

Check soil quality

Your home garden needs rich, fertile and healthy soil to grow healthy crops. Since you’re planting crops on your property, you can control soil health depending on what you want to grow in it and on your location.

Improve soil health by adding homemade compost. If you have a small garden, make compost from kitchen scraps.

Add a layer of compost each spring and fall as you plant your crops to give them a nutrient boost and improve soil health. Alternatively, you can improve the soil by keeping it covered. Adjust the soil with the right cover crops, mulches, or composts.

In between seasonal growing periods, plant cover crops to help restore the fertility and nutrients of the soil. Cover crops also help prevent erosion, suppress weeds and prevent diseases. Use cover crops that are native to your area.

Fertilize your plants regularly

It’s best not to use chemical fertilizers in your home garden to avoid harmful chemicals that may also pollute the environment.

For best results, use chemical-free ways of fertilizing your plants. You can buy natural fertilizers, but you can also make them at home.

Here are some common types of organic fertilizers:

  • Blood meal
  • Fish emulsion
  • Cottonseed meal
  • Compost
  • Manure
  • Seaweed fertilizer

Fertilize your crops when the ground is warm enough because organic fertilizers need organisms in the soil to break them down and release the nutrients they contain. This means you must use fertilizer when the soil is warm and moist so the microorganisms in the earth will be active.

Most vegetables need fertilizer when they are planted and when they are setting fruit. Summer vegetables can be heavy feeders and take nutrients from the soil.

Corn and tomatoes are the heaviest nitrogen users. To ensure that your fruit-producing plants get the nutrients that they need, add a quick-release fertilizer to the soil every three to four weeks.

Keep things organized and set up a schedule in your garden planner so your plants stay healthy and provide a maximum harvest.

Eliminate garden pests as soon as you see them

Pests can wreak havoc in your garden if you don’t deal with them immediately.

While you’re watering and harvesting your crops, keep an eye out for signs of pest damage. Watch out for pests at the beginning of the season, at least before they make an appearance, so when you spot pests, you know what to do.

Harvest your crops regularly

Once your garden is planted and growing, follow a regular harvest schedule.

Once a plant begins to set seeds, it will stop producing fruit and spend its growing life creating seeds. This has to happen at the very end of the season, not at the beginning.

You can encourage your crops to keep producing by harvesting frequently. Check on your plants every day and harvest fruits and vegetables that are ready. This helps stimulate plants so they continue to flower and set fruit.

Check on your home garden regularly and keep an eye out for pests to boost your yield.

Sources:

RockinWHomestead.com

TheSpruce.com

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