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The MOST Important Vegetable Gardening Advice

All the way from Cape Cod, C.L. Fornari, also known as the Garden Lady gives the MOST Important Vegetable Gardening Advice:
1. Start from the ground up.
I know it’s not sexy, but pay attention to the dirt first. Dig the area up with a shovel or rototiller to loosen the soil, and add compost or composted manure. (One large pail full of compost or manure per square yard is fine, two pails full per yard is even better.)
2. Planting on the sunny side.
Forget what the neighbors will say and plant your vegetables in the front yard if that’s where it’s sunniest. Veggies require at least 5 hours of dead-on sun that includes the noon hour. More is preferable.
3. The easiest veggies to grow.
Start out by growing lettuce, beets, bush green beans, summer squash and cherry tomatoes. In cooler areas, add broccoli and bush peas to this list. In hotter areas, add peppers and eggplant. Heirloom tomatoes are trendy, and taste great, but have little disease resistance.
4. Timing is everything.
Ask at your local garden center when the last frost date is in your area. If it’s before that date, plant only broccoli, peas and lettuce. Wait until after that date for all other veggies, and don’t plant basil, eggplant, and tomatoes if the night temperatures are still going below fifty degrees.
5. Don’t be seed phobic!
Lettuce plants, beets, carrots, peas, beans, corn, and radishes should always be grown from seed. Buying any of these as plants is a waste of money.
6. The irritation of the irrigation.
Watering every day is a waste of water and bad for plants. Irrigate deeply less often – this makes deeper root systems that stay moist while allowing the surface of the soil to dry a bit. Water in the morning so that the foliage dries out quickly.
7. Fertilizer is like gin.
A little can be a very good thing – too much is a problem. For fertilizer, go organic every time. For gin this is optional.
8.There will be weeds!
Pull or hoe weeds when they are very small: this is a lot easier than pulling them when they are large and it’s hot outside. Spread mulch around your vegetable plants when they’re about six inches high to suppress weed growth. Common mulches straw, hulls, or chopped leaves.
9. Feeling bugged?
Sprinkle diatomaceous earth around the plants for slugs, earwigs and flea beetles. Use Bt or Spinosad for cabbage moth larvae. When in doubt, hand pick insects that are doing damage.
10. Are we there yet?
Harvest lettuce leaves by cutting off the outside, larger ones. Pick green beans when they are thin, and tomatoes when they get red. Harvest summer squash such as zucchini every other day, when small. If you find a huge zucchini, carve it into a face, like a pumpkin.

More from The Garden Lady at: www.gardenlady.com & www.wholelifegardening.com I’d highly recommend checking out these sites – Whole Life Gardening in particular is filled with tons a great garden pictures.

Posted on Thursday, January 21st, 2010 Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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