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Date:2009-06-26

Home vegetable gardening has become a trendy activity as people are paying greater attention than ever to balanced diets and healthy foods while harboring concerns over pesticide residues in vegetables purchased from the market.

Those who aspire to grow vegetables at home, however, face some challenges. They have to figure out where to get seeds and how to grow the plants after finding some land or a place to put seedling pots.

sp1.jpg Mr. Chen Kun-tsan, a deputy-engineer at the Hsi Liu Environmental Greening Foundation, is also an expert dedicated to promoting gardening provides tips on where to get seeds and how to prepare the soil and plant seeds for the reference of novice home vegetable gardeners.

Mr. Chen said small amounts of seeds can be accessed at local seed shops and if people need a larger amount, they can find them at flower wholesalers, and supermarkets affiliated with farmers’ associations.

Vegetable seedlings usually are available at vegetable markets or online, Chen said.

As to the soil, Chen said most soil available at flower marekts and gardening shops can be used for growing vegetables, as long as it drains well.

Chen explained that soil aeration, fertility, and water drainage and retention are the soil characteristics necessary to successfully grow vegetables.

He noted, however, that while the soil currently sell in the markets drains well, it is not fertile enough to grow vegetables, and he suggested adding organic fertilizers to help adjust the soil’s composition.

sp2.jpg In addition to providing nutrition to help grow vegetables, organic fertilizers can convert to a humus layer in the soil to help reduce soil hardening, ease soil salification, and improve soil aeration and drainage.

Humus also promotes the growth of plant root system and can enhance its resistance to disease, Chen said.

The gardening expert said growing vegetables at home is not a difficult task as long as home gardeners remember to choose good seeds and seedlings carefully and improve the soil by adjusting its pH, drainage and aeration.

Once the problems of obtaining seeds and soil preparing are resolved, all that’s left is to provide a proper amount of water and enough sunshine to make the dream of growing delicious vegetables come true, Chen said.

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