Hunkering down does not have to be a bore. If you want to find enjoyment, excitement, drama and lots conflict, plant a vegetable garden while we are executing our stay at home orders.
Vegetables are fun to grow however like errant children can sometimes be a bit trying. When perfection blesses your garden you can have a growing and harvest season that is filled with rewards. But if mother nature wants to have some fun with you plot of land the vegetable garden can turn into a challenge…. albeit a well worth one.
Start with good soil. If your soil is heavy clay don’t throw it out, just mix in lots of compost. Compost added into the earth makes for a good growing condition in any garden. This prep stage is important and will benefit you as the plants grow in. Keep extra compost on hand to mix into the soil as the season progresses. Remember compost decomposes and plants take in the nutrients. So adding it on a regular basis is good. Compost will also attract worms and other beneficial bugs to hang out with your plants. Many beneficial insects will help to eat the bad bugs as the season moves along. So, good soil is good.
Exposure is the second most important aspect of vegetable gardening. A minimum of 6 hours of direct sun will keep your plants at their peak. If you have a bit less, the tomatoes might be a bit leggy, and the cucumbers might not produce as heavily but you can still try your hand at it and will be rewarded although your bounty might be less. And if you face due south plant with complete abandon for you have the best exposure of us all. Do be mindful of large trees and the shade they may produce when picking your spot. Veggies do better in the sun, period.
Water glorious water. This is a must. A good soaking each day in the late spring and summer will keep your plants happy and producing. Try not to let the garden completely dry out. If the top inch of soil dries out during the day that is OK. Just don’t let the plants dray out or you may affect the yield for the rest of the season.
Specific care. Do a little search on the veggies you want to grow to find out any micro instructions that they may need for their care. Start with seeds if you are planting radish, carrots, beans, squash, cucumbers, melons, pumpkin. Go with plants if doing tomatoes, peppers, herbs (the time to stat them by seed was in February). Ask the garden center if you don’t see your veggie listed here.
Have fun planting and veggie garden this year.
Derek “The Garden Guy” Thomas has been nationally recognized for his garden design work. He is committed to the urban waterways movement by teaching and lecturing on the importance of protecting and preserving the waterways of DC and beyond. He plants a garden every year. He runs Thomas Landscapes LLC. He can be contacted at www.thomaslandscapes.com / @thomasgardenguy on twitter. You can find and friend us on Facebook at Facebook/Thomas Landscapes.