As Memorial Day quickly approaches some people start to think beyond the shrub and flower bed and start focusing on their summer vegetable gardening. Many people really enjoy the hobby of vegetable gardening for many reasons. I personally like it because it reminds me of the great memories of being in the garden with my grandparents and parents. We had competitions of who can pick the most green beans or pulling the biggest weed. But there are many other reasons for vegetable gardening for instance, it makes your meal times more personal and proud knowing you grew the food you have on your plate. Caring for the plants during certain weather conditions and watching vegetables from start to finish connects us to the environment around us. It can tie us together as a community when we share our bumper crops with neighbors, friends, and relatives. Not to mention growing your vegetables and herbs are cheaper than buying it weekly at the store. But before we get ahead of ourselves now is the time to plan your garden if you have not yet.
If you are new to gardening planning the size of your Vegetables bed is the first step. Remember you do not want to make your vegetable garden bigger then what you and your family can handle. Another thing to think about is what style of garden you would like. There are many gardening trends that are popular right now. Some of these are lasagna gardening, straw bale gardening, raised bed planting and of course the in-ground garden. Once you decide what type of garden you would like to grow, and the style in which you will grow it, the next step is location. Remember, gardens need full sun, so some place that would be a nice flat area in at least 7 hours of sun. It should also be easy accessible to a hose for those hot summer days when they need extra water. After you have these steps figured out then comes the fun. It’s time to play in the dirt.
Before planting any plants you will want to do soil amendments to the existing soil. I recommend using the garden mix soil we carry in bulk here at the Garden Center. This soil is a mixture of topsoil, leaf compost, peat humus, and sand. If you have a smaller garden or a raised garden I would recommend a couple of bags of Purple Cow. This is an organic product that is a activated compost that will help with plant health by releasing more nutrients. It also holds in the water so you won’t have to water as often. Once when soil amendments are done, it’s time to select and plant the vegetables and herbs you would like to grow. When selecting the vegetables remember, which plants like to have room to grow like squash. Also keep in mind there is cool weather vegetables such as lettuce and peas. If you plan accordingly you can plant these first than replant the area with another one of your favorite vegetables. If you are having trouble deciding what to plant in the garden, stop by the Garden Center we will help answer those questions you might have. Also to help pick the right plants for your garden we will be having a 20% off on vegetables and herbs starting on May 18th. Once when planting is done the commitment to your garden has begun.
Proper maintenance is the biggest part of gardening. These steps for an outstanding garden include making sure insects and other animals don’t interfere with your growing plant, keeping up with your garden’s water needs and of course weeding your garden. Fertilizing is a good thing to do this encourages new growth and bigger vegetables. As your produce matures, such as your tomatoes, you might notice that sometimes they suffer from a calcium deficiency called blossom end rot on them. This can be cured by adding calcium nitrate to the soil. When proper maintenance is done during the growing season you will have fresh vegetables and herbs for the whole season.
If you would like to learn more about vegetable gardening we will be having a plant talk on May 31st at 2pm. Join us this Sunday May 17th at 2 pm, as we discuss summer container gardening. We will talk about annuals and tropical plants along with vegetables and herbs that are best suited for container gardening.
If you are looking to enhance your garden by adding plants that will attract hummingbirds and butterflies check back for our next blog post.