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Growing your own food has a number of advantages. The produce is fresh and doesn't waste time being hauled from the field to the packaging plant and finally to the grocery stores. You have control over what, if any, pesticides and fertilizers are being used. The variety of vegetables is more extensive than that found at the store. There are hundreds of varieties of tomatoes for example. Planning a food plot entails some preparation but the rewards are well worth it. Here's how to grow your own food. Select a location that gets full sun all day. Hobby gardeners can afford to plant in areas that won't get the full production out of the garden. Gardeners who plant to provide food for their family can't. Vegetables and fruits need at least eight hours of sun a day. Determine how much of your food you want to grow. That determines the size of the food plot. What you plant will also have an impact on size. Corn is a space hog. It requires three square feet of ground to produce two ears of corn. Check with your local university agricultural extension to see what varieties of vegetables and fruits are recommended for your geographic location. Choose vegetables you like. If you're not a fan of spinach, don't waste the space planting it because you won't eat it. Instead plant chard, kale or another leafy green you do like. Double dig the food plot. Start at one end of the garden and dig a 12-inch deep trench. When you reach the end fill the trench with 3-inches of compost. Start digging a second trench right next to the first. Use the dirt from the second trench to fill in the first. When you reach the end of the second trench, add 3-inches of compost to it and start the third trench. Continue until the food plot has been completely dug up. Add slow release fertilizer per package directions and dig the garden again by lifting a shovelful of soil and turning it over. Rake the plot smooth. Check for low and high areas and level them out so water doesn't pool. Plant cool season vegetables such as peas, lettuces, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages in early spring when the last average date of frost is past. If you want to get a jump start on spring start the seeds inside a four to six weeks earlier. Water the vegetables if rainfall doesn't equal 1 1/2 inches a week. How much and for how long depends on the weather conditions. Soil should be wet to a depth of six inches. Check with your finger or use a screwdriver.

Plant warm season vegetables like tomatoes, beans, corn, squash and eggplant when the days are reaching into the 70s and above and the nights aren't cooler than 65 degrees F. Make sure the plants have adequate water and fertilize once a month. Harvest crops that ripen all at once like potatoes, corn, pole beans and determine tomatoes when they're ripe. Harvest crops that produce all season when the individual vegetables are ready. Leaving the vegetables on the plant slows down production. Be ready to can, dry, store or freeze your food crops after harvesting. Some like potatoes may be stored in a cool place for several weeks. Others like corn need to be frozen immediately. Still others like beans can be dried for use later.

More gardening tips Dee Power is the author of Business Plan Basics and several other nonfiction books, as well as the novel, "Over Time" Money, love, and football: All the important things in life. Her other nonfiction books include "The Publishing Primer: A Blueprint for an Author's Success," "58 Ways to Find Money for Your Business, "Inside Secrets to Venture Capital" and "Attracting Capital From Angels." She lives with an Irish Setter and an English Springer Setter who have their own dogs blog.

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==== ==== For More Tips How To Double Your Tomato Harvest Visit Our Link ==== ====

Grow Your Own Food - Tips  

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