Growing vegetables is a fun and rewarding activity for the entire family. Watch this video from our seminar on Sunday, March 26th to learn everything you need to know about how to plant, grow and harvest your own crops.
Fresh-picked herbs and vegetables from your own garden are tastier and more nutritious than store-bought vegetables. Here are some tips on how to grow your own vegetables and herbs:
Choose a Location
Vegetable gardens should be in full sun; avoid areas that are shaded by trees, buildings or other structures. The soil should drain well, where water does not sit in puddles for any length of time. Although a rich, loamy soil is ideal, poor soils can be very productive with the addition of organic matter like c
When to Plant
In general, vegetables are divided into two major groups that determine when they are to be planted, cool-season and warm-season.
- Cool-season vegetables prefer and do best in daytime temperatures that are around 60-65 degrees F. and will tolerate some light frost. Cool-season vegetables are planted outdoors in the garden beginning in late March through early May. These vegetables are harvested in late June through July before the heat of the summer. For a fall harvest, a second planting of cool-season vegetables can be planted be-tween early June and midAugust for harvest in late October through November or later. Cool-season vegetables include: Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, collards, garlic, kale, leeks, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, peas, radishes and spinach.
- Warm-season vegetables like temperatures that are 65-80 degrees F. and will not tolerate a frost. The last frost date in our area is usually around early May, so most of these vegetables can not be safely planted outdoors until after May 15 or so. Even then, and for the following few weeks after planting, be mindful of night time temperatures and be prepared to cover young tender plants to protect them from frost damage or death. Warm Season vegetables include: Beans, cantaloupe, cucumbers, eggplant, okra, peppers, pumpkin, squash, sweet corn, tomatoes, watermelon and zucchini.
How to Prepare the Soil
Good soil preparation before planting will guarantee healthy vegetable plants and higher yields at harvest time. 1. First, do a soil test to determine the pH of your soil. Bring in a small sample of dry soil and we’ll test it for free. Most vegetables prefer a soil pH between 6.2 and 6.8. Apply lime if the pH is below 6.0. 2. To a depth of 6 to 8 inches, work or turn into the soil organic matter such as compost or dehydrated cow manure, GardentoneTM vegetable food and lime, if needed. 3. Rake the area smooth and level, breaking up clods and lumps of soil. 4. Plant vegetable plants spacing them according to guidelines on seed packets, labels or reference charts. 5. Water well after planting.
Tips for Caring for your Vegetable Plants
- Fertilize every 4-6 weeks with an organic vegetable fertilizer.
- Water vegetable gardens only when the soil is dry and needs it. Deep, but infrequent, watering, two or three times a week, is best if there is no natural rainfall. Excessive watering may encourage insect and disease problems.
- Use an organic mulch to prevent weeds, conserve water and cool soil temperatures.
- Tomatoes, peppers and eggplant may need extra support by staking or caging. Cucumbers, pole beans and peas will grow best on a trellis or fence.
- For most vegetables, frequent harvesting (picking) will encourage more productivity. The more you pick, the more you get!
- Before using pesticides in the vegetable garden, identify the pest and select the least-toxic control for the problem. If you’re not sure about a particular problem or its solution, bring in a sample (in a sealed plastic bag) and we’ll be glad to help identify the pest and recommend a remedy
How to Successfully Grow Vegetables