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Living Off Your Garden Resources

Aug 18, 2007
Fruit growing in the garden can be rewarding and economical. The space available and position of the fruit plot are all that really limit a gardeners choice. Soft fruit, especially the best flavoured varieties, which are often unsuitable for commercial growers, can be eaten in perfect condition straight from the garden plant.

Top fruits, as they are known, should be planted in an open unshaded position. On a sloping site the higher the ground is the best place as there is the chance of spring frost damaging fruit will be lessened. Frosty air flows downhill like water so opening up a fence or hedge will often allow the free flow of cold air away from the fruit area.

Most soils not higher than six hundred feet above sea level will grow apples if the varieties are chosen specifically for the district.

If apricots, nectarines, peaches and pears are to be grown outdoors, they usually need the warmth of the southern half of the country or a really sheltered and warm patch.

It is sensible not to plant fruit tees in windy exposed positions. A shelter belt of trees can improve the situation but they take a lot of space and may introduce competition for light and water. Vegetables and fruit trees need to be kept apart because high yielding vegetables need heavy manuring which gives fruit a poor colour. Fruit will be less highly coloured in areas of high rainfall. Where this happens, cooking apples do better than dessert.

Good drainage down to at least three feet is essential. Water logging will kill tree roots and even moderately poor drainage makes apples more susceptible to canker.

For fruit trees dig the area well, breaking up the sub soil where there is any tendency to panning (formation of a solid layer below the top soil.) For stoned fruit apply hydrated lime where there is acidity.

Vegetable Gardening Tips

With the costs of living rising all the time, it may be possible to save money and increase your family's health at the same time by growing vegetables in your backyard.

It's a good idea to choose your favourite vegetables to grow and plan beds for early, middle of the season and late varieties.

Most vegetables require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, some need 8. Some quick growers like lettuce and radish can be grown between the rows of plants that take longer to mature, like beet or corn, thus making full use of the area available.

Throughout dry periods, vegetable gardens need extra watering. Most vegetables benefit from an inch or more of water each week, especially when they are fruiting.

During the growing season watch for insect pests. If you discover a bug problem early it will be much easier, but be careful to not use pesticides once the vegetable are close to being picked unless it becomes an absolute necessity. Organic gardening is one healthy and environment-friendly option. Once you have reaped your crop, put the vegetable waste into your compost pile so that it can be recycled for next spring.

It is important to protect your vegetable garden from wild animals looking for a tasty treat. Make sure your garden is surrounded by a fence that will keep out dogs, rabbits, and other animals. The harm done by wandering animals during one season can equal the cost of a fence. A fence also can serve as a frame for peas, beans, tomatoes, and other crops that need support.

Protection is needed in order for your vegetable garden to yield a bountiful harvest. Hard work will pay dividends if necessary precautions have been made.
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