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3-Step Vegetable Gardening: The Quick and Easy Way to Grow Super-Fresh Produceby Steve Mercer
Synopses & Reviews
Many people would love to enjoy eating super-fresh homegrown produce but don't know how. Starting with what varieties to plant through how to tend their garden and when and how to harvest the fruits of thei labors, this book is the complete vegetable gardening system for busy people. The book breaks things down into three simple steps: sow, grow, and harvest.
Readers will learn how to set their garden; how to install raised beds and a watering system; and why the time spent getting ready to sow will be repaid many times over during the summer. They will find out how to grow, learning all about mulches and weed covers, garden sites, and planting plans. Then day by day through the growing season, they will see how to make their garden grow. And finally they'll learn how to tell when it's time to harvest and how to store vegetables they can't eat right away.
By spending growing their own vegetables, readers will enjoy crops harvested at the peak of perfection, bringing food from garden to table in minutes flat. And they'll be eating the freshest home-grown vegetables, herbs, and fruit available instead of the underripe or limp, sickly offerings so often found in supermarkets.
Starting with the basics, this book is the complete vegetable gardening system for busy people.
3-Step Vegetable Gardening is the complete vegetable gardening system for busy people, breaking things down into three simple steps: sow, grow, and harvest. Readers will learn how to set their garden; how to install raised beds and a watering system; and why the time spent getting ready to sow will be repaid many times over during the summer. They will find out how to grow, learning all about mulches and weed covers, garden sites, and planting plans. Then day by day through the growing season, they will see how to make their garden grow. And finally they'll learn how to tell when it's time to harvest and how to store vegetables they can't eat right away.
- 300 color photographs
- Explanations of the three steps--sow, grow, harvest--for each vegetable or fruit
- Do-it-yourself soil tests
- Dozens of hints and tips, many even experienced gardeners will find interesting
- How to choose the best easy-care vegetables and varieties
- Strategies for sowing and planting in both hot and cold conditions
- How to draw up and follow a cropping plan to stay on track
- Keeping one step ahead of weeds the natural way
- Ways to keep crops fresh and full of flavor after picking
- A-Z guide to fruit and vegetables
• Learn how to sow, grow, and harvest dozens of popular vegetables and fruits.
• Variety lists help you choose sure-fire winners for your garden.
• Sidebars and tip boxes tell you how to grow tomatoes, herbs, salad greens, and more in containers.
• Step-by-step photographs show important gardening tasks.
• Green tips tell you how to help the planet while watching your garden grow.
Pick your own blueberries fresh from the bush.
Grow vegetables without digging by using raised beds.
Make a string of onions to store your harvest.
About the Author
Sally Roth has lived and gardened in three distinct climates, Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and Northeast and has visited gardens around the country. Because of this experience, Sally avoids a shortcoming of many garden writers who become so focused on conditions in their garden that they don't take account of problems gardeners experience in other parts of the country.
Sally is the co-author of Rodale's Successful Organic Gardening: Companion Planting (1994) and has also co-written Taylor's Guide to Fruits and Berries (1996). She wrote The Successful Herb Gardener: Growing and Using Herbs--Quickly and Easily (Country Living Gardener, 2005). She has written many other gardening books and currently lives in New Harmony, Indiana.
Steve Mercer has worked for the past 25 years on one of the UK's leading gardening magazines (Garden: Which), researching, testing, and writing about all kinds of vegetables, techniques, and equipment. He has run two large vegetable gardens and is just about to start a third from scratch. Despite this, he cant resist growing vegetables and herbs in pots and in the back garden, too, for extra fresh produce. Steve lives in the United Kingdom and is a member of the RHS vegetable trials committee.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Getting Ready to Sow
You can grow a whole range of delicious vegetables and herbs in your own garden even if your busy lifestyle leaves you with little time to spend tending your plants. ThereÕs no need for acres of space; vegetables will flourish on the balcony of a city apartment or tucked among the blossoms in a sunny flowerbed. This chapter explains how to plan a new garden or adapt an existing one to allow you to grow vegetables.
Vegetable gardens can be beautiful as well as practical, and we will give you ideas for ornamental potagers combining herbs, salads and edible flowers, tub gardens for patios, and easy-access raised bed gardens with decorative paths.
Your garden will make use of a whole range of time-saving tricks which will be fully described and explained. For example, you will find out how to:
¥ avoid the need for laborious digging by using deep bed systems
¥ use mulch to save hours spent watering and weeding
¥ install automatic watering systems that work while you sleep
¥ choose the best easy-care vegetables and varieties
¥ keep pests and diseases at bay
¥ draw up and follow a cropping plan to keep you on track
Now that you have decided what you are going to grow and how much space you can devote to it, it's time to start the preparations, and lay the basis for your plot. This chapter tells you exactly how to get it right from the start in just a day!
¥ do-it-yourself soil tests
¥ improving the soil for healthy growth
¥ how to dig Ð and how to avoid digging altogether
¥ creating raised beds and laying paths
¥ getting the best out of containers
¥ the magic of mulch
* installing an automated watering system
Chapter 2 Sowing and Planting
In this chapter, youÕll discover how to pace your planting and sowing to create a garden that will yield harvestable produce at a steady pace over the longest possible period. YouÕll learn about succession sowing Ð how to sow little pinches of lettuce seeds every week for a long harvest of salads throughout the summer, instead of a whole row that matures all at once and ends up going to waste. We will also guide you on how much space to give to each crop Ð and when to hold back, no matter how much youÕd like to try six different varieties at once! YouÕll also see how the harvest needs of a crop fit with your lifestyle, and make realistic choices about crops you may want to grow less of Ð or not at all.
¥ preparing the plot for sowing: using cloches or fleece to dry out and warm up the soil for an early start
¥ sowing techniques: sowing in rows or scattered, how deep to cover seeds, dealing with very small or large seeds,
¥ which crops can be bought as young plants to save time raising them from seed
¥ helping transplants get off to a good start
¥ strategies for sowing and planting in both hot and cold conditions
¥ two crops for the price of one Ð interplanting demystified
¥ care of seedlings and young plants
¥ stretching the planting season through the summer and into early fall
¥ little and often: why planting and sowing your garden gradually in small doses keeps you in control of how the garden develops
Chapter 3 Making Your Vegetables Grow
As your garden develops, your gardening pastimes will include watering, fertilizing, staking, mulching, and keeping an eye out for pest and disease problems.
¥ watering strategies: hoses, sprinklers, drip irrigation, automated systems
¥ fertilizers: what nutrients are needed, and which forms are easiest to apply
¥ staking and supporting: getting the timing right; creating trellises and tepees that wonÕt give in before the seasonÕs out
¥ keeping one step ahead of weeds the natural way
¥ pests and diseases: techniques for preventing damage before it starts and safe, easy ways to nip problems in the bud
¥ encouraging helpful insects, spiders, and birds to be on pest control duty in your garden
Chapter 5 Harvesting and Storing
Capturing your crops at their peak of flavor and quality is the ultimate goal of your gardening efforts. Learn how to decide just when crops are ready for harvest, and how to keep that fresh-picked flavor even when crops are stored for weeks. Do you want tender young zucchini or large ones for stuffing? We tell you how to get both from the same plant!
¥ maximizing your harvest by picking regularly
¥ choosing the right time to gather your produce; should you pick the crop young or allow it to ripen?
¥ ways to keep crops fresh and full of flavor after picking
¥ storage options; keeping crops in the ground, in the refrigerator, in boxes in cool rooms or cellars, freezing or drying
¥ preparing crops for long-term storage; quick-drying methods and freezing without fuss
Chapter 6 The A-Z of Fruit and Vegetables
All the individual detail you need about a wide range of crops Ð both long established favorites and exciting newcomers. Each spread is divided into three sections:
¥ sowing and planting times
¥ recommended varieties: as well as good, easy-to-grow all-rounders, we will also flag up varieties with special virtues such as high vitamin content, decorative value, historic interest, or natural resistance to pests or diseases.
¥ soil, fertiliser and watering requirements
¥ special cultural requirements such as blanching, staking or training
¥ solutions to common problems
¥ how and when to harvest
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