Vegetable Cultivation Farming
Vegetable farming has a potential to reward a gardener, but it needs effort and solving a few gardening challenges. For high vegetable yields to be obtained in gardening, it needs a good fertile land to be selected, good agronomic practices, a few right amount and quantity of fertilizers to be applied, proper planing among others. Home garden vegetables can be produced any time of the year provided the soil has right moisture content and right soil temperature requirement. Garden vegetables tend to be fresh and has high nutritive value. This article will provide in detail on how to grow vegetables in your home garden and it will include all agronomic requirements. The word vegetable can mean any tender form of edible parts of fruits, shoot, leaves among others which is consumed while cooked or in raw.
Classification of Vegetables
1. According to the part consumed
Under this classification we have all leafy vegetables (cabbage, water leaf, lettuce), all fruit vegetables (cucumber, tomato, okra, eggplant, garden egg, sweet pepper), all seed vegetables (melon and Ito melon), all root vegetables (sweet potato, radish, Irish potato, carrot), all spices (onion, garlic, chilli pepper).
2. Classified according to season
Under this classification we have all cool weather vegetables (cabbage, garlic, onion), all warm weather vegetables (eggplant, okra, tomato, pepper, cucumber).
3. Classified according to botanical or taxonomic characteristics
Under this we have all genera and species.
4. Classified based on frequency of cultivation
Under this we have all regularly grown vegetables (Onion, Okra; Eggplant, Tomato, among others), all occasional vegetables (Mushrooms, Basella Rubra among others).
5. Classified according to their maturity period
Under this we have all short growing vegetables, vegetables which needs more time to be harvested and so on.
Types of Vegetables
1. Indigenous vegetables
These vegetables are commonly grown on home backyard farms and are associated with tropical Africa climate. They need hot and humid conditions, heavy rains among others. These vegetables do not need large investment capital to be grown and are done mainly for home consumption.
2. Exotic type of vegetables
These are vegetables known to have originated from cool temperate regions (examples are; lettuce, cabbage, radish, carrot, Irish potato among others).
All the materials, list of activities to be done, the areas you may require technical support, type of vegetables to grow, the type of soil and it's nutrient ingredients, expected places to sell your vegetables should be sketched on a paper. This will make the farming more efficient and will help you save time and money.
Basic Cultivation Techniques
Selecting a good site to be used for gardening is very important for successful production. Make sure you select a site having good soil fertility, well drained soil, and most of all, select the soil which has good water holding capacity. When selecting a site, make sure it is close to your home for easy monitoring, while at the same time close to the market for easy marketing your vegetables. When choosing the type of soil for garden vegetables, sandy loam soil is considered as an ideal.
How we prepare soil for home gardening is partly different to other field crops. Prepare your land by removing all unwanted materials in your garden and till the area, where applicable, prepare raised seedbed and leave it a few days before planting. It is recommended to add 1.4 kg of ammonia fertilizer per 93 square meters of soil surface. Make sure the chosen site has good water holding capacity to avoid soil moisture shock and as well as waterlogging.
Fertilizer and lime
In case your garden has acidic soil, make sure you apply lime to neutralize it to the recommended soil pH for vegetables, which is 5.8 to 6.5. Before any application of lime and fertilizer is done to your home garden, make sure you conduct a soil analysis to know the right quantity of lime to apply as well as right type and quantity of fertilizer to apply. It is recommended to apply N-P-K fertilizer to your home vegetables after the vegetable planting.
Seeding and spacing
Different vegetables have got different spacing requirements, therefore, this will depend on the choice of vegetable which you want to grow, but it is advisable to have a proper row spacing and between vegetable plants for optimal performance.
Time for planting vegetables
All cool season vegetables should be planted in the cool season when the soil has right moisture and temperature requirements, similarly, all the warm season vegetables, should also be planted in the warm season when the soil has reached its minimum requirements.
Using transplants to grow your vegetables speed up maturity period. Transplant seeds can easily be done on a nursery field where monitoring becomes easier. Make sure you slow down water application to your nursery field a few days before transplanting is done. Make sure that the transplanting is done early morning or in the evening and each transplant should be watered and covered with a mulch for a few days.
Always make sure your garden has right moisture content all the time. You can supply water to your home garden by means of Irrigation, but make sure the site is not waterlogged. Most vegetables require 3.8 cm of water per week for optimal yield.
Make sure you remove all the weeds in your garden to avoid them for competing nutrients, water and sunlight with your vegetables. You can remove them by hand picking or by using a hoe. Weeds in your garden can also be controlled by applying glyphosate a week before the transplanting is done.
Harvesting is done when the type of vegetable you have grown has matured. Different varieties have got different maturity index and different harvesting methods.