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17 September 2014
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how to be a gardener - The complete online guide

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7 - Setting up your plot
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Since the aim is to make the vegetable garden a paradise for the productive plants, the last thing you want is competition. Weeds will take light, water and food from those plants that you are nurturing, so they must go. Weed your patch regularly and they’ll never become a problem. Weeding also allows you to take a good look at your crops and spot any pest or disease before it becomes a problem. See Module 6 - Problem solving for more about weeding.
Productive crops are especially thirsty so be especially vigilant. Morning and evening are the best times to water. Give everything a good soak, not a little splash. See Module 5 - Caring for your garden, for more about watering.
Watering runner beans
Edible crops are very hungry. Leafy crops, such as salads, like nitrogen-based fertiliser; those that fruit need extra potash. Some plants need extra minerals, for example, tomatoes are prone to magnesium deficiency. See Module 5 - Caring for your garden, for more about feeding.
Keeping plants healthy
Just like your prize dahlias, vegetables are susceptible to attack by pests and diseases. Organic gardeners aim to prevent problems and, when they do occur, treat them without man-made chemicals. There are lots of good treatments, including biological controls. A good source of advice is the Henry Doubleday Research Association website.

If you use chemicals, remember you will be eating what you spray, so read the label and follow safety information about length of time between spraying and harvesting.
Protecting plants
Early in the season you can protect newly planted or emerged plants by covering them with cloches or a layer of horticultural fleece laid over the plants. These are great for rows of vegetables, such as peas. For individual plants you can cut the bottom off a plastic drinks bottle and cover them with that. Remember to take any protection off during warm days to avoid fungus problems.
If there are rabbits and/or deer in your area, you’ll probably need to enclose the vegetable plot with a fence.
7. The productive garden

Setting up your plot
 Making your own compost
 General care
Growing vegetables
Growing fruit
The kitchen diary
Greenhouse growing
The herb garden
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