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  • Writer's pictureAlexandra Ward

Veggie Gardens

We're gearing up for spring veggie season. Here's how Potomac Flower plans to prepare you as well.

The spring season is within weeks of our grasp, and we are most excited about building veggie gardens for our customers. Fresh vegetables are imperative to a well-rounded diet, and their benefits impact the entire body. A diet rich in veggies provides the vitamins and minerals responsible for preventing disease, strengthening bones, and maintaining balanced blood sugar. We're pledging to eat more veggies this year, and we want to help you achieve the same goal. Here's how we plan to get you started.

Building Raised Garden Beds & Installing Irrigation

The use-cases for raised garden beds become most apparent when applying the technique to growing veggies. Not only do they look tidy and trendy, but they are a superior system for gardening at home!

Selecting a Location

When choosing a plot for a veggie garden, an essential variable is sun exposure. Very few veggies respond well to shady environments, so a decent spot must receive full sun for a veggie garden to be viable. This means that a location must be selected that receives at least 6 hours of sun each day. Building raised beds for your veggies to grow in can help keep the plants directly in the sunlight, avoiding shadows from surrounding structures.

Raised beds are recommended for many other reasons, as well. We prefer them because, in addition to bringing your veggies closer to the sunlight, it's also bringing them closer to warmth. The earlier your soil warms up, the earlier your growing season can begin, which means an extended season. A raised bed also provides superior drainage, which is vital as flooding can lead to moldy roots and, ultimately, dead crops. Another benefit is that since the soil we fill the beds with has never been contaminated by weeds, the chance of weeds taking over the garden becomes significantly reduced. Since the bed is raised, the new, clean soil is elevated away from existing weeds. And then, of course, there are all the reasons related to a garden that doesn't get walked on.

Building Your Raised Beds

The bed is built by creating a box frame from wood or stone, just so long as the material is unpainted and untreated so toxic chemicals don't get into your crops. We prefer to use cedar for its untreated nature. A combination of materials can also be used to create the right look for your garden. Once these materials are selected, we will construct the bed to the desired height, burying the edges at the bottom to provide durability.

Installing Irrigation

Once the structure is complete, water is run through irrigation lines to eliminate manual watering. Drip irrigation is a method of watering plants that directs water to the roots. This reduces the amount of water wasted by only watering what's needed. It also keeps you from inadvertently feeding any nearby weeds.

Selecting Veggies

While the decision of what plants to grow in your veggie garden is ultimately up to you, there are a few variables that we can help you to consider. Chief among them is the season, as not all veggies respond the same to different temperatures. Veggies are typically broken into two groups: cool- and warm-weather varieties.

Cool- Vs. Warm-Weather Veggies

Some cool-weather veggies include artichokes, asparagus, beets, bok choi, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, fava beans, fennel, garlic, kale, lettuce, onions, parsley, radicchio, radishes, rhubarb, scallions, snow peas, spinach, Swiss chard, and turnips.

You may find bell peppers, corn, cucumber, eggplant, hot peppers, lima beans, okra, pumpkins, squash, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes among the warm-weather veggies.

Adding Flowers

Adding flowers and other ornamentals to your veggie garden is a great way to attract beneficial insects. Marigolds are a popular option as they also deter pests specific to the destruction of veggies, such as tomato hornworms and whiteflies. Adding a pop of color may also discourage rabbits and other adorable but destructive creatures, but of course, raising the garden beds lends itself to the same end. Other flowers that work well when combined with a veggie garden include cosmos, lavender, sunflowers, sweet peas, and zinnias.

Maintaining and Harvesting Your Crops

Our fine gardening team will come to your property regularly to tend to your garden. Your veggies will turn out best when they are correctly cared for. This care includes pruning and expertly timed harvests.

The Importance of Proper Pruning

Pruning can mean different things for different crops, so let's use tomatoes as an example. Tomato plants grow small shoots called suckers that sprout between the stem of the plant and each individual branch. These suckers are not directly harmful to the plant, but they serve no beneficial purpose either. The problem with them is that they tend to draw energy away from the stem where it would otherwise be directed into growing more robust tomatoes. All this means is that the plant's energy isn't being optimized. However, when that energy is optimized, the resulting harvests will be larger (both in volume and tomato size.) Potomac Flower's fine gardening department is trained in spotting the details that will make a difference for your garden.

Regular Harvests

Each veggie will be ready for harvest in its own time and usually many times throughout the spring and summer seasons. Our team will pluck your veggies only at peak ripeness, delivering them to your door each time. How much easier could bringing fresh, home-grown veggies to your table be?

How Does That Sound?

Of course, we can alter any of these steps to fit the needs of your home and family. Already have a veggie garden? Let us install irrigation or just take over the maintenance! Give us a call today at (703) 757-1870 for your veggie garden consultation.

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