scurlys
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How to make vegetables more bountiful?

Hello everyone,
I am new to gardening this year but the moment I plucked my first zucchini from its plant I...was...hoooked!!! Now I want to learn everything so the coming years I can expand my garden and grow more and more vegetables!

so my initial question: as of now I only have beans growing, a few zucchini, tomotoes JUST starting to show, and my peppers I have given up on - oh and pumpkins which I hope come about soon.

Is there any way to make vegetables more bountiful?? I use miracle gro for my flowers and I've noticed there are much more of them and bigger, fuller, all the good stuff miracle gro claims it will do - should I be doing something like this with my vegetable garden so I have more vegetables?? Any help would be great!
Thank you so much!! So excited to learn more and more

DoubleDogFarm
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Welcome to the forum scurlys.
How to make vegetables more bountiful?

Now I want to learn everything so the coming years I can expand my garden and grow more and more vegetables!
Well that is how some look at it. Grow a hundred feet of each variety and you are bound to have a more bountiful harvest or maybe not.

My number one rule is feed the soil not the plant. Healthy soil = Healthy plants.

Eric

scurlys
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Thanks for the welcome!!!

Sooo, as a newbie, dumb question - what is the best way to feed the soil to make a healthy plant?

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SPierce
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scurlys wrote:Thanks for the welcome!!!

Sooo, as a newbie, dumb question - what is the best way to feed the soil to make a healthy plant?
Compost :D

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hendi_alex
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Compost and organic amendments. If the soil becomes rich enough to support a healthy colony of earth worms then you are well on your way. But to be plant friendly soil needs to be friable to a decent depth, it needs to retain water but at the same time allow good drainage, it needs to have a good amount of humus content. Adding compost will help with issues of nutrients and humus. If the soil is heavy then amending with sand and/or using raised beds will help with drainage issues. Tilling the soil, then moving to a minimum till regimen will allow the soil to be soft and workable as long as beds are constructed such that the planting areas are on walked on. The soil also needs to have the right pH of just under neutral. A soil test is a good first step to determine the soil's needs. That can be done at a very reasonable cost through your local extension service. In fact your local extension service may be your single greatest source for information that applies to your specific area. The only complaint that I have about farmer's extension services is that they tend to be too 'advanced' and like to use all kinds of chemicals for 'modern' agriculture. So my advice is to get information from the local extension service about your soil needs, about planting varieties and about planting schedules. Get a good book about organic gardening. Get a separate book which addresses composting and its use. Finally, perhaps get book such as 'Square foot Gardening' which will teach about raised bed gardening and intensive kinds of gardening. That process will likely occupy for at least three or four years as you read, experiment, and modify what you are doing.
Eclectic gardening style, drawing from 45 years of interest and experience. Mostly plant in raised beds and containers primarily using intensive gardening techniques.
Alex

DoubleDogFarm
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If you like the biointensive approach these YouTube videos are for you.
John Jeavons https://www.youtube.com/user/JohnJeavonsGrowBio


Eric

DoubleDogFarm
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Double post

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rainbowgardener
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Agree... the way to have great veggies is to have great soil. Miracle Gro does not make great soil, it's an attempt to short cut that, but it does not substitute. And great soil does not happen over night, it's a project that you work on.

Yes, compost is the number one best thing you can do for your soil/ garden/ veggies. If you don't have a compost pile yet, start one!

Keep the soil mulched all the time (except early spring when you want the soil to warm up) with organic mulches (leaves, grass clippings, pulled weeds, straw, shredded paper or whatever you have -- wood chips are not best for veggies, though they are fine for your perennials and shrubs).
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

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Gary350
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Double your root growth and it will typically double your bount. The way to get more root growth is to loosen the soil so the roots can grow easier and faster.

Organic material works great. I put lots of compost in my garden but it does not last it just composts away and it is completely gone.

Gypson from sheet rock is a great way to loosen the soil. Tennessee Technology center did some research on gypson added to the soil they were able to increase bount 2 to 4 times. Get scrap sheet rock from construction sites.

Sand works too. This year I dug a hole and filled it with play sand. The melons that are growing in the sand are double in size compaired to the melons in the other part of the garden.

john gault
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I'm currently in the process of building up some soil in my yard. It's the worst soil possible, just plain sand, no nutrient value and nothing living in it. Can't just throw some worms into it, they'd die very quickly.

What I've done is tilled up the area, collected leaves from houses that set them out for the city to dispose and piled them in the area I want to start a garden. I now use this area as my primary dumping area for yard/kitchen waste (as opposed to my compost pile) and it's coming along pretty good now. I hope to be able to add woms next year.

john gault
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john gault wrote:I'm currently in the process of building up some soil in my yard. It's the worst soil possible, just plain sand, no nutrient value and nothing living in it. Can't just throw some worms into it, they'd die very quickly.

What I've done is tilled up the area, collected leaves from houses that set them out for the city to dispose and piled them in the area I want to start a garden. I now use this area as my primary dumping area for yard/kitchen waste (as opposed to my compost pile) and it's coming along pretty good now. I hope to be able to add woms next year.
This area (phot link below) had equally bad soil last year. I added compost to it and heavily mulched over and now this banana plant is thriving (they are heavy feeders) and I do have worms and many other critters within the mulch/soil. It's amazing because just outside the mulched area is a completely different climate/environment. By different climate, I mean from the perspective of the various lifeforms in the mulched area.

If I were to dig a six inch hole outside the mulched area and fill it with water it takes quite some time for it to drain down and then once it drains down if you were to stick your finger into that hole you'd find nothing but dry sand, because sand doesn't absorb moisture, i.e. the water is completely lost. However if you were to do the same thing within the mulched area you'd watch the soil immediately soak up the water and retain it like a sponge.

BTW, I got a few neighbors that also have banana plants, they seem to be the same species, however they are very small. They all started growing at the same time this year (after the last frost of the year), but they are just growing in plain soil. So yes, you must feed the soil, do that and there's no need for store-bought fertilizers. I NEVER added anything to this area except home-made compost and keep it going by occasionally adding kitchen waste and when I prune the dying leaves I place in the soil under the mulch.

This mulched area is approx. 8' x 8' https://s1128.photobucket.com/albums/m484/76gunner/

TZ -OH6
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Get your soil tested to see what it needs. Your local county extension office should be able to direct you to a good lab. No sense dumping something on that isn't needed and at the same time missing a significant problem.

I'm an big advocate of deep loose soil so the plants have an even source of moisture. Dig a two foot deep trench/hole to see if you have an impenetrable clay layer that will stop roots from getting to the moist subsoil. You might consider something like putting down plywood strips for walkways so that you don't compact the soil after you have loosened it up.

scurlys
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Thank you everyone for all of this advice. I am so excited to get going on the garden and hopefully, in a few years, have a huge thriving garden - I'm glad that there are ways to have it done organically and not from something bought in the store. I'm sure I will get confused along the way but glad to know there are so many knowledgeable people at my finger tips
Thanks again!!! :D

hit or miss
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I second the suggestion of looking into biointensive gardening. Search it on youtube and watch their videos.

DoubleDogFarm
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I'm sure I will get confused along the way but glad to know there are so many knowledgeable people at my finger tips
Wash your hands first. :wink: :lol:

Eric

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