Gardening is most exciting at the cropping stage when you see and smell fresh and healthy crops growing. However, the daunting task is the seed-, waiting on germination. If you are like me then you will be counting the leaves of the tiny crop to advise you when to transplant or to jubilate that your plant survived the first stage of growth.
Nursery is a specialised area, and one can’t help but to admire those who provide seedlings to make gardening much fun for some of us. I recently tried a vegetable nursery with carrot, cucumber, tomatoes, cabbage and chilli, and want to share a few lessons to help others who want to grow from seed.
If you’re a beginner gardener, start small. It’s better to be thrilled by what you produce in a small nursery than be frustrated by the time commitment a big one requires. It’s also best to learn a few nursery and gardening basics before investing tons of time and money in this new hobby. You’ll get a feeling for how much time it takes, especially at the nursery level where a lot of attention and care needs to be given.
Grow what you love to Eat
What do you like to eat? Your answer will tell you what you should plant in your vegetable nursery. There are also a few other things to keep in mind when deciding what you want to grow.
Know the variety of the crop
Pay close attention to the description on the seed packet, tag, or label. Each variety of vegetable comes with certain characteristics. Some produce smaller plants ideal for containers or small gardens. Other varieties offer better disease resistance, improved yields, or better heat- or cold-tolerance. Start by choosing veggies you like to eat, then look into their sizes and care needs.
Think about how much you and your family will eat, then be realistic about how many seeds or plants you need to put into the ground/ container or pot (many beginners make the mistake of planting too much). Vegetables like tomatoes and peppers keep providing throughout the year, so you may not need many plants to serve your needs. Other vegetables, such as carrots, radish and corn can be harvested only once and then will need to be replanted.
Choose the spot for your Nursery
No matter where you put your nursery or what you decide to plant, there are two basic requirements that your location needs to meet for the best success: water and light.
Like all plants, vegetables need the sun to kick-start photosynthesis. The fastest-growing vegetables need full sun (at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day) without blockage from trees or fences. That’s why you won’t have much success if you plant sun-loving vegetables in shady spaces. If your yard provides partial shade, plant vegetables and herbs that tolerate those conditions, such as lettuce, kale, spinach, parsley, and thyme. Root vegetables like carrots, radishes, and beets might also work if your site gets at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day.
Think about water access
The closer you can site your nursery to a water source, the better. You’ll need to be able to water frequently during the first few weeks after seeds germinate or seedlings are transplanted to help these fragile plants produce strong roots and stems. Once your plants are established, it’s better to give your garden a long drink every few days rather than a little sprinkle every day. Then the water will move deeper into the soil, which encourages roots to grow deeper, where they’re better able to access nutrients they need to stay healthy.
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