Gardener shares top vegetable gardening tips

Growing your own garden and providing fresh vegetables for the table is a fantastic way to spend free time. Gardening provides many great health and mental benefits for the gardener/homeowner as well as the peace of mind of knowing exactly what has gone into producing the fruits of your labor.
Make a good vegetable garden even better with these fantastic gardening tips!
1. Make your own seed starter containers
Biodegradable containers for starting seeds can be expensive to purchase. Make your own by closing the end of a toilet paper tube, filling it will potting soil and then planting seeds in the soil. The entire tube can be planted in the ground when the temperatures are safe to move seedlings outside.
2. Seam ripper to open seed packets
Seeds packets always seem to be unnecessarily hard to open with ripping the package and destroying the planting instructions. Use a seam ripper or envelope opener to neatly slice open the top of packets.
3. DIY seed starting tray
The next time you buy a precooked rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, make sure to wash the plastic container and save it! They make the perfect starting tray for tender seeds that need extra humidity.
4. Perfect plant spacing with a muffin tin
No more stressing over perfect spacing between the seeds in the garden. Or rummaging through the garage to find a measuring tape to mark the distance out. Use an old muffin tip and push it slightly down into freshly tilled soil, creating divots. Drop seeds in the holes, following packet planting instructions, and cover loosely with soil.
5. Prevent squash vine borers
Squash vine borers are a prominent insect problem in squash and zucchini plants per the University of Minnesota Extension. To prevent the females from laying eggs at the base of the plant stems, wrap them with aluminum foil when plants have 2 to 3 sets of true leaves making sure to extend the foil down into the soil about 1/4". As the plant grows, loosen the foil and re-wrap to prevent girdling.
6. Baking soda for sweeter tomatoes
Are your tomatoes tasting bitter or slightly bland? Sprinkle baking soda around the base of the plants to neutralize acidity and you'll be rewarded with sweeter fruit at harvest.
7. Fertilize with Epsom salts
The box of Epsom salt sitting in your bathroom cabinet can help do more than ease the ache of sore muscles! Salt Works recommends it as an ideal product for organic gardening. When broken down, the magnesium and sulfate will add nutrients to the soil your plants need for basic growth without affecting the soil pH or causing a salt buildup over time. Add a spoonful to the bottom of holes when transplanting plants or side dress with it during the active growing season.
8. Build a trellis for vining plants
Cucumber plants can quickly take over garden spaces with their quick growing vines. As the fruit forms and lays on the ground, it can also be more susceptible to fungal and bacterial disease. Building a trellis to train plants to grow upwards can save valuable space in the garden and prevent diseases that decrease yield.

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