Vegetable Garden Basics


The most important thing when it comes to a garden is the location. Depending on what you are growing, this will determine if you need a space that is full sun or partly shaded. Most cold crops do well in partial shade, while fruit or vegetable bearing plants need full sun.

Plant taller crops such as corn against the North side of your garden to make sure your corn doesn’t shade the rest of your garden.

corn location

There are many different methods to go by when gardening. Here are the basics.

#1 Test your soil

#2 Correct your soil with the proper amendments

#3 Fertilize early with aged cow manure

#4 Plant

For me I find it easiest to plant and experiment. If it doesn’t work, I research why it did not work. I suppose I could sit here and spend the rest of my life planning the perfect garden, but I am a doer.

The west side of this garden contains partial shade loving plants such as beets, brussel sprouts, kale, lettuce, potatoes, and spinach. While the East side of the garden contains sun loving plants such as asparagus, corn, eggplant, peppers, squash, tomatoes, and watermelon.
Mint is a favorite of mine but I can’t stand how it spreads everywhere. One trick I have learned for planting mint in your garden, is to plant it inside of a 1 gallon pot about 4 inches above the ground so it does not

As for plant specific fertilization I have worked holly-tone under and around the blueberries, 10-10-10 fertilizer and a 2″ layer of aged cow manure under the asparagus, and strawberries.

Lets get serious. This garden is 48′ x 48′, with this comes my fear of weeds. To minimize the weeding on the walking paths I have placed a double layer of weed blocking fabric covered with cedar mulch.

cedar mulchOnce the season is over I will roll up the mulch and remove it from the garden. Cedar mulch takes years to compost.

My next steps are to fine tune the watering pattern, create proper supporting structures  out of bamboo for all of the plants that require them, plan for the next fertilization, and bug control. I just placed an order on Amazon for 4,500 live lady bugs . One lady bug can eat 50 to 60 aphids per day and also eat many other harmful bugs and larvae.


In the interim I will be weeding at least three times a week so that they don’t sneak up on me. I plan on researching some other natural weed preventing methods and test different ones in different areas of the garden.

This garden will be one of my primary hobbies this summer until harvest time comes, then I will be in the kitchen bringing you lots of new recipes. Here’s to a successful season!

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©, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the owner is strictly prohibited.

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Repurposed Spice Storage Solution

Living in a small space, helps me be a bit more creative when it comes to storage solutions. Let me show you what you could do to utilize wall space to organize your spices and free up prime real estate in your cabinets.

I discovered an old wooden drawer while I was cleaning out my father’s garage. I knew it had potential for something, at that point I was just not sure exactly what. I took the drawer home and cleaned it up. Brushing it off with a nylon brush to clean any loose debris from it then gave it a quick scrub down with a disinfectant. Now, this old drawer is ready for its new life in my cottage. I held the drawer up vertically on a few different walls, then horizontally. I even leaned it up against the wall and put a few things on it to see if something would scream out to me. Well it didn’t, so under my couch it went for a few months.

At this point my spice cabinet situation has become disastrous. My spice cabinet was filled front to back with all of my spices. We all know how much of a headache this is. Having to dig to the very back for that spice that you thought you had, only to find out that you ran out. It was at that very moment when a light went off in my head. The wooden drawer was destined for this. Under the couch I went to pull out the wooden drawer. The spice containers fit perfectly.


I marked out where I wanted to hang the shelf. Found where the studs were and secured the shelf with screws. I mounted the drawer vertically to utilize every square inch of shelf space.

The most practical way to organize my spice shelf was in the order of use. The spices I use everyday on the top shelf. Followed by the less used spices at the bottom. I can see all my spices at a glance, plus I have a whole shelf now empty in my cabinet.

All great ideas are created through necessity.



©, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Shawn R Rutka is strictly prohibited.