Gardening provides an opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities while producing fresh fruits and vegetables for the table. Growing healthy produce offers many gardeners a sense of accomplishment as they watch their small plants mature and begin to bear fruits and vegetables. Plants require certain elements, including sunlight, water and nutrients to thrive and grow. Supply your garden plants with these necessary elements to encourage the healthy production of fruits and vegetables
Select a quality site in your landscape to grow your fruits and vegetables. Most fruit trees and plants, as well as vegetable plants require plenty of sunlight. Avoid areas with overhead trees or nearby structures that block light from reaching the soil. Choose a location that receives at least six hours of full sun. Many plants thrive in areas that allow between eight and 10 hours of light each day. Do not place your fruit or vegetable garden at the base of a hill. Low areas retain cooler temperatures. Choose an area close to a water supply. Many vegetables and fruits require supplemental watering.
Test the soil in your chosen location. A basic soil test reveals the overall health and composition of your existing soil and reveals which if any supplments are necessary. Gather the soil for your test from various areas of your selected site to obtain an overall reading. Add any recommended soil amendments to correct the health of your soil. Add some compost to increase the porosity of heavy soils and incorporate organic nutrients into sandy soils. Mix all soil additives into your existing soil with a garden shovel or rototiller. Repeat your soil test every few years to reveal possible cases of nutrient depletion in your garden soil.
Plant fruits and vegetables in prepared soil. Transplant potted plants into your garden by digging holes large enough to contain the entire rootball of each plant. Keep the surface of the soil around the rootball level with the surrounding surface. Backfill with the removed soil and tamp it down to remove air around the roots.
Water your fruits and vegetables to maintain slight moisture at the roots. Most vegetable plants require a minimum of 1 inch of water each week. Use a small garden trowel to scrape a small hole in the garden soil. Soil that appears dry 1 to 2 inches below the surface requires additional water. Increase the amount of water during very hot and dry periods.
Fertilize your fruit and vegetable plants to encourage quality produce. Fertilizers supply your plants with adequate amounts of nutrients during the vegetable and fruit production stages. Purchase fertilizers labeled for use on your specific types of plants and apply them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.