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10 Ways to Boost Yields in Your Vegetable Garden


[Music] Hello! 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. 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 (2-5cm) thick around existing crops. This surface mulch will also help to
slow moisture loss and suppress weeds, saving you time watering and weeding. 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. 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. It may seem obvious, but growing what thrives in your
soil and climate will result in stronger growth and bigger harvests. For example, warm climates are ideal for growing
sweet potatoes and tomatoes, or in cooler areas opt for crops like chard
and cabbage that can cope with the cold. Choose varieties that have been bred to
thrive in your climate – early varieties
are great for short growing seasons, while heat tolerant varieties are a must
for areas with scorching summer sun. 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. 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 round. So if you’re still using treated water to irrigate your crops, now’s the time to install additional water barrels
and collect as much rainwater as you can. You can use a connector kit to join multiple barrels together. 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. 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 crop will fit into each square foot. 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. Take a preventative approach to pests
and 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 egg plant
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 mealy bugs. 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, and with garden planning season picking up pace, make sure you’re subscribed to our video channel
for lots more invaluable gardening advice. I’ll catch you next time. [Music]

30 Comments

  1. My Hillside Garden Author

    I always enjoy your videos and I love my garden planter. The newsletters and reminders are very helpful to me and I hope to put it to much better use this coming growing season. Enjoy the day! Catherine

    Reply
  2. Alexandra Smith Author

    The soil was very poor when I moved in here, a little house nearly 50 years old. I tried adding compost and then we got chickens for the slugs and to deposit lime. I was advised to add Rock Dust which is high in minerals, so that's gone in every spring and summer for around 7-8 years. Things are beginning to take off now and we had a great apple and fruit harvest last year, which I expect will be a little quieter this. I've also begun growing bee and bird favoured wild flowers and plenty of Lavender, and Russian Sage which arrived via a bird a couple of years back. The butterflies love them. I'm aiming at a lot of Permaculture as I can't dig or plant much anymore. I love the tips you have given, most of which I'm doing already but the temptation to over pack areas is my downfall! We had very few potatoes this summer because of the heat. Wonder what this summer will bring.

    Reply
  3. Frank Burns Author

    I feed my soil in the fall and spring. In the winter, I feed my head, like the door mouse said. Okay, I do that last bit in fall and spring, too. Keep up the great vids, mate. Cheers.

    Reply
  4. Sajad Ahmed Author

    Hi as always a very good garden channel .could you please let me know how does comfrey look. .Don't think I have a clue sounds very good comfrey tea. Could I buy it from garden centre.

    Reply
  5. Middletown Insider Author

    I recently moved to a house with a good size yard and don't have time or money to build frames for square foot gardening, like at my old house. This year, rather than having a traditional rectangular garden, I'm tilling east to west rows approx 4' wide and 24' long, leaving 36" between rows. This allows me to comfortably access the growing areas without ever having to step on the tilled soil; and, to concentrate compost in the growing areas. Last year, as I learned, here, I covered the garden with cardboard and topped that off with straw. This really does keep weeds in check and hold moisture.

    Reply
  6. Mike Biggerstaff Author

    I always enjoy and appreciate these month videos. Right now as I sit and look out at the cold, damp, cloudy weather, these video's keep me looking forward to Spring. Time to order my seeds from Territorial Seed! Thank you for your inspiration.

    Reply
  7. Jan Erdman Author

    Love these videos! We have grown onions for years. We start seeds inside in January and transplant in early April. Onions like increasing light and are cold hardy so planting them early is OK

    Reply
  8. A. C. Author

    Very informative. I was wondering if I need to use a specific vegetable food for each of my plant or can I use a general one for all my veggies?

    Reply
  9. J.French Rennier Author

    These video's are excellent as well as the companion video's. I have maintained a large planter box garden for well over 3 decades. The video's assisted in increasing my knowledge, saved me money, increased my yields & I even started using unfamiliar techniques which has since become habit.
    The 1 greatest advantage to planter box gardening was to collect tree leaves & grass clippings converting them into a mulch which has in particular tripled my cucumber production especially the Japanese long thin variety.
    Thanks again for the video's, please continue to share new & better methods.

    Reply
  10. Gillenz Fluff Author

    I just use watered down urine it's amazing fertilizer and it can supress plant pathogens and it saves thousands of drinking water from going down the toilet.
    Yeast is also a good plant booster and seed germination booster it produces plant growth promoting hormones and helps supress fungal and bacterial infections.

    Reply
  11. Mary Watkins Author

    I am going add this tip-grow heirloom veggies. Select the strongest plants and save the seeds from those. Also select the strongest plants to propagate from cuttings to make your harvest a bigger one.

    Reply

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