Vegetable Garden Tips

Early in the spring, look in your fridge…do see any sweet potatoes about to sprout?  Place 3-4 toothpicks around the circumference about 1/3 of the way down from the sprouted end around the to support it.  Plop the larger end into a glass of water and watch it root.  Now you can plant it. This is a lengthy process, but it is fun to try something new and to be self-sufficient! And, kids will love it!

Watering: Remember to water early morning or evening, especially during this hot weather. Try not to get water on leaves at night time watering.

When the hot weather starts, early spring crops start “bolting”. It is time to harvest whatever is salvageable and replant with another crop. This is called succession gardening. The following site has wonderful information on vegetable gardening.  Click here:
Succession Planting (Permission to post this link has been requested.)

Re-plant with heat loving veggies – bush beans, cucumbers, summer/winter squash or other crops you will eat. Tomatoes, eggplant and peppers should already be planted. If you don’t have issues with raccoons, try melons or corn.

Plant your lettuce in the shade of other plants so it doesn’t bolt as quickly. 

You can plant zucchini 3 times over the summer.  At the beginning of June, in mid-June, and then late June-early July)  To avoid getting squash vine borer, you can use a row cover until they start to blossom or wrap thin strips of steel wool around the plant stem as close to the soil as possible.

Fertilizing: The SGC’s renowned horticulturalist is using the square foot method of gardening – her beds are sectioned into 12″ squares. She mixes in 2 cups of compost every time she replants a square as well as 2 Tbs. Espoma Garden Tone which only gets mixed into the top 3″ of soil. Every 2 weeks she uses Neptune’s Harvest Fish & Seaweed fertilizer, especially good for the heavy feeders – tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, eggplant and peppers. Follow the instructions.

There are many different growing methods – by rows, French Intensive method (plants are placed closer together in a zig-zag, like the letter “w”.) I have done both methods in the past.  Experiment, do whatever works for you and your situation.

This is the Square Foot Planting method:
16 plants per square:
small beets, carrots, green onions, micro greens, parsnip, radish, scallions, small turnips.

9 plants per square:
bush beans, large beets, bok chop, celery, mustard, onions (bulb), spinach, large turnips.

4 plants per square:
chives, garlic, head lettuce, rutabaga, shallots, swiss chard.

1 plant per square:
broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, kale, peppers, potato, strawberry, large sunflower, tomato.

Use an 18″ square:
cucumbers (vining & train to grow up a trellis), tomatoes (trained to grow up).

Using a  36″ square:
zucchini or bush squash.

And a 48″ square only one of these:
cucumbers, melons, squash, pumpkins (they take over the whole garden!).

Happy Harvest!!

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