Begin to thin out the seedlings as early as possible; not only will this allow the remainder the extra space to develop properly, it will also stop those which are not required taking up the nutrients needed to feed the remainder. Never leave those seedlings, which have been pulled out to remain on the surface, as these will attract pests, particularly in the instance of carrots and onions, as they are prone to attacks from flies.
It is impossible to grow succulent vegetables unless there is sufficient moisture in the soil. Good quality crops are grown in soil that is rich in humus and with sufficient moisture. Lack of moisture lowers the sugar content of the plants and causes them to become bitter and leathery. During dry periods the crop will need to be watered and this in itself can cause a problem; a watering can is generally inefficient, whilst the pressure from a garden hose is too great and can wash out the soil from around the seedlings roots. It is possible to rig up a sprinkler system fixed onto a frame above or on the ground that a hose can be attached too. An automatic watering system takes the work out of watering - it waters your plants properly all through the season, and keeps the amount of water you use in the garden tightly under control. It consists of a network of pipes that carry water around the garden, and tiny water outlets that deliver the water directly to your plants. You can use a system in conjunction with an electronic timer, which attaches directly to your outside tap, the system will run itself, watering as often and for as long as you choose.
The amount of water required will depend on the season, on the crop and on the soil. Heavy, clay soils may require only half the amount needed for dry, sandy soils. The crops will require watering in a dry summer but only moderately in showery summer season.
Shallow-rooted crops suffer far more during a dry summer then do the deeper-rooted ones. Make sure those crops such as lettuce, spinach, radish, spring onion, early potatoes; turnips, cauliflowers, celery and celeriac have adequate water. Many people are concerned that they will create leaf-scorch problems if water is given on a bright, sunny day. This is only the case if the water is applied in large droplets as those from a watering can as the droplets act as a lens similar to a piece of glass, which when bright sunlight falls on them will burn what ever is beneath. Water that is finely sprayed onto the plants wet the leaves evenly and in fact will help revert the problem of wilt, and possibly save those plants which might otherwise die if water were not to be given during this period. Make quite sure that enough water is given to soak deep down to the roots.
In excessively wet weather water can wash away nutriments from the soil, however careful fertilizing and manuring can replace these.
I believe that most gardeners will be aware that some crops will do better than others and this will be governed to a great extent to which part of the country you garden. In the south, and more particularly in the southwest it is usually possible to sow and plant much earlier than in the north and northeast. The difference may be as much as two or three weeks. In some years there are serious frosts that can persist through May, while in some seasons there is early summer warmth even in March. With experience the gardener will be able to judge the optimum time to begin cultivation in his or her own district and this coupled with the guidance given by the instructions on the seed packets will accomplish a successful growing season.
Terry Blackburn. Internet Marketing Consultant, living in South Shields in the North-East of England. Author and Producer of blog http://www.lawnsurgeon.blogspot.com Author of "Your Perfect Lawn," a 90 Page eBook devoted to Lawn Preparation, Lawn Care and Maintenance. Find it at http://www.lawnsurgeon.com
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