If you're like most people during these difficult times, the prospect of growing your own produce seems like a perfect idea. Taking on this task can seem a little scary for first time gardeners, but with a little knowledge and some spare time, you can grow a delicious bounty for fresh eating, canning or freezing.
1: Ground, pots or raised beds?
Digging a new garden for ground planting: You'll need to mark off a space in FULL SUN where you can start removing the grass, loosening the soil and removing large stones. A shovel is good, but a mattock is better for chopping up hard soil. Add fresh planting mix, garden soil mixed with peat, perlite, vermiculite and mix well. Each row or hole you dig should be at least 16" deep. (Ideally soft enough to dig with your hands, once the soil is prepared.
If digging isn't your thing, you can always build raised beds. We used pressure treated lumber above at our home garden- but some folks say you should use untreated lumber.
Fill with soil and you're all set. You'll just need lots of soil if you have lots of beds!
Pots can be used as vegetable planters too. We've seen Rubbermaid tubs, large party tubs (the kind they sell at Walmart with ropes as handles) anything will work, as long as it's big enough. There's a ton of planter ideas on the internet, and often (in previous years) we carry several large containers also.
One tomato plant (a non-dwarf or patio variety) should be planted in a pot or container that is 14" or larger. Peppers have a smaller root system and can easily grow in a 12" pot or container. As long as they are deep containers and you've drilled large holes in the bottom for drainage. Don't skimp on the size of the drain holes!
Cool temperatures prevent us from planting a lot of crops. What can you plant in April? Lettuce, cabbage, spinach, asparagus roots, potatoes, pea seeds, cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, kale, broccoli are all perfect choices.
May 12th for the rest of your crops
Warmer night temperatures are what you are looking for when planting tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, green beans and the rest of the delicious crops.
We have nearly every single plant mentioned in this article. Although we do plant established cucumbers, squash, beans and other things that vine, we choose to plant seeds in weekly intervals so we have continuous harvest all summer (instead of a bumper crop all at once)
FEED YOUR PLANTS, NOT YOUR SEEDS. once the seeds have sprouted, that is a great time to feed. Never feed a seed! Fertilizer is important, I can't stress that enough. It doesn't really matter what you choose- either water soluble or granulated, slow release or quick acting. Food is essential until the fruit is setting. Once the fruit starts emerging on a tomato plant, you don't have to feed much anymore.
I don't want to scare off any new gardeners with a lot of words to read. Try a few things. Make sure your soil is soft enough for roots to grow
Plant your garden in full sun
Pick your veggies often. Beans, for example will give you 3 harvests on one plant. If you don't pick your beans, they'll think you don't love them and stop producing.
Make sure your container is large enough for the plants to grow.
Water them constantly. Avoid dry spells that make your plants wilt excessively ... and then keep them soaked to the core for the next two weeks because you feel guilty. We don't mind a little wilting. It's the plant telling you it's thirsty. Water them really well- then let them dry out (somewhat) again. Wet soil that never drains or is allowed to dry out is not a good thing.
See our vegetable page on our website for the varieties and sizes we are planning for 2020
Got more questions?
email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Cindy, the Plant Lady from Dan Schantz Greenhouse.