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ORGANIC VEGETABLE GROWING

Organically grown vegetables are free of potentially poisonous sprays, artificial colourings or preservatives that may be found in vegetables purchased in the market. Organically grown vegetables invariably taste better.

GETTING STARTED Choose the right site in your garden for growing vegetables. The vegetable garden should be sited where: 1. It receives maximum sunlight (not be shaded by trees and buildings), be well drained. 2. It has good soil. 3. It is relatively free from weeds and other competing plants. 4. It has access to a suitable supply of water.

5. It is sheltered from any prevailing winds.

Some compromises may have to be made depending on what you have available.

The size of the vegetable plot will depend to a large extent on how much space you have available, but consideration should also be given to the size and needs of your family, their personal preferences for different vegetables, and the time you have available to tend your garden. As a general guide an area of 80 100 sq. metres can provide a family of four with an adequate yearly supply of fresh vegetables if you grow two or more crops in most parts of the plot each year.

Consider The Following: What do you want to grow? What you grow will depend a great deal on your own preferences, as well as environmental factors (e.g. soil, climate), however when deciding what to grow it is worth considering the following: Some vegetables produce prolifically in a short time (e.g. radish), while others will be slow to mature (e.g. artichoke). If you are aiming to produce large amounts of vegetables then the majority of your plot should be planted out to the higher yielding vegetable varieties. If the quantity of vegetables you wish to produce is not your major concern or you have plenty of space, then it is worth growing some of less prolific types, as these will often be in shorter supply in the markets, or be generally higher in price than the more prolific varieties.

Some vegetables are best eaten fresh. They generally lose flavour and nutritional value if stored for any length of time. They are also generally the most expensive to buy due to their short storage life.

It is worthwhile then to grow these types of vegetables, which include tomatoes, lettuce, beans and cauliflowers.

What quantities of vegetables can you consume and store? When deciding what to grow and in what quantities consider the following points.Do you want to produce all of your own vegetable needs, or will you do some supplementary buying? Do you eat a lot of vegetables or are they only a small part of your diet? Do you have sufficient space and suitable conditions (ie: refrigerators, freezers, preserving facilities) to store what you produce? Can you trade or barter your produce with others?

What time do you have available to spend on growing your vegetables? Remember that vegetable growing is more than just preparing a patch of soil and planting it. You need to have the time available to do all the necessary tasks, and at the right time, such as fertilising, weeding, watering, pest and disease control, harvesting, processing and storage. It is not much use, for example, attempting to control a particular pest once it has already caused major damage to your crop, or to harvest your crops when they are overripe. A small well managed vegetable plot will generally produce bigger, and better quality crops than a larger, poorly maintained one.

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