Hello! Welcome to the farming ocean. I am going to share 10 ways to increase the yield of vegetable gardens.
Harvesting more from your vegetable garden is a worthy ambition – but just what are the most effective ways to increase productivity?
Healthy soil, careful planning, and defending your crops against pests, weeds and weather extremes is the answer – so let’s dig a little deeper.
Here, then, are 10 proven ways to increase productivity this growing season.
1. Feed your soil
Deep, nutrient-rich soils encourage extensive root systems and strong plants, so nourish your soil with plenty of organic matter such as compost, manure, or leaf mold.
Compost and leaf mold can be made at home for free, so compost everything you can and put a thriving composting setup at the heart of your garden.
The best time to add organic matter is in winter, to give enough time for it to become incorporated into the ground before spring.
Then top up with more organic matter during the growing season, laying it 1-2 inches (2-5 cm) thick around existing crops.
This surface mulch will also help to slow moisture loss and suppress weeds, saving you time watering and weeding.
2. Feed your plants
Many plants will benefit from a further boost of organic fertilizer such as liquid seaweed concentrate.
Or grow a patch of comfrey in a separate area- next to your compost bin is ideal – and make your own comfrey tea, a potent brew ideal for hungry plants like tomatoes.
Cut leaves can also be laid around plants, or added to the compost heap where they will help to speed up decomposition.
3. Grow in beds
Convert to a system of permanent beds and minimize wasted space while concentrating your resources.
Beds may be accessed from all sides, and plants can be grown in blocks which maximizes productivity.
And because you’ll add organic matter directly to the beds, there’s no wasting it on paths or other unproductive ground.
4. Choose plants that thrive
It might appear glaringly evident, yet developing what flourishes in your dirt and atmosphere will bring about more grounded development and greater harvests.
For instance, warm atmospheres are perfect for developing yams and tomatoes, or in cooler zones choose crops like chard and cabbage that can adapt to the virus.
Pick assortments that have been reproduced to flourish in your atmosphere – early assortments are incredible for short developing seasons,
while heat open-minded assortments are an absolute necessity for regions with the searing summer sun.
5. Grow more in shade
Increasing productivity means making the most of every space available to you, and that includes shadier areas.
They’re great for leafy vegetables such as lettuce or Asian greens, slow growers including leeks and parsnip, plus hardy fruits like blackcurrants and gooseberries.
You can use our Garden Planner to filter crop choices to show only those suitable for growing in the shade.
6. Collect more rainwater
Rainwater is the best option for watering vegetables. Rainwater is softer, contains fewer contaminants, and is at a pH that is preferred by most plants, encouraging better growth all around.
So if you’re still using treated water to irrigate your crops, now’s the time to install additional water barrel sand collect as much rainwater as you can. You can use a connector kit to join multiple barrels together.
7. Extend the growing season
Get familiar with your first and last frost dates, then plan to push your growing season further using plant protection.
Cold frames, row covers, and cloches enable sowing and planting to begin up to two weeks sooner, while harvests can continue a few weeks longer at the end of the growing season.
The Garden Planner demonstrates this beautifully.
Add crop protection such as a row cover to your plan, then bring up the accompanying Plant List and you can see how the combination of earlier planting and later harvesting dates have extended the season for this particular crop by more than a month.
A permanent structure such as a greenhouse opens up even more possibilities, making it easy to enjoy an even earlier start to spring while affording just enough protection for winter-long cropping of, for example, hardy salads.
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8. Space plants correctly
Be careful to leave enough space between plants. Too close and they’ll fail to grow properly and be prone to disease, but too far apart and you won’t make the most of the space you have.
The Garden Planner shows you exactly how many plants may be grown in the area available.
Excellent soil can help you to push the boundaries by growing vegetables a little closer than recommended.
Square Foot Gardening takes this to the extreme, with plants spaced up to 5 times closer. Select the SFG option in the Garden Planner to design your own square-foot beds.
The planner shows you how many of the selected crops will fit into each square foot.
9. Pair up plants
Some plants are mutually beneficial. Grown together, they can help to increase overall productivity.
Companion planting takes many forms. For example, lofty corn can be used as a support for climbing beans, or lettuce grown in between rows of carrot or onion helps to smother weeds while these slower-growing crops establish.
The Garden Planner takes care of companion planting too. Simply highlight a crop, then select the Companion Planting option, to display suitable partners in the selection bar here.
10. Work to prevent pest
Take a preventative approach to pest sand stop them in their tracks. For example, place barriers over susceptible plants to protect them from flying insect pests.
Or reduce a nuisance slug population by removing hiding places such as upturned pots or long grass in and around growing areas.
Then every few weeks, head out when slugs are feeding in the evening to pick off and dispose of them by torchlight. Make room for flowers in the vegetable garden too.
Flowers like alyssum, calendula, and poached eggplant don’t take up much space but will improve productivity by attracting predators such as hoverflies and ladybugs to control pests including aphids, mites, and mealybugs.
Try some preferably all of these techniques for yourself and enjoy the boost in productivity you deserve! Don’t forget to share your own tips for increasing yields below!