The garden season is upon us and it is easy to be overwhelmed by all the plant choices in the garden center. Make your visit less stressful and your vegetable garden more productive by following these simple steps.
Start with a plan. Make a list of what you and your family like to eat. Then look for planting space to grow your favorites. Keep in mind vegetables and herbs can be planted in containers, mixed with other plants, or grown in a garden of their own.
Match plants to the growing conditions. Grow any vegetables you eat the fruit like tomatoes, peppers, and melons, or the flowers, like broccoli or cauliflower, in full sun (8 or more hours). Root crops like onions, carrots, and radishes will tolerate a half-day of sun (4-6 hours).
And leafy crops like Swiss chard, spinach, and lettuce are the most
shade tolerant (3-4 hours of sun).
Warm season plants like tomatoes, peppers, and squash need warm air and soil for best results. Wait for the danger of frost to pass or cover with floating row covers to protect early plantings from cool temperatures and frost.
Broccoli,lettuce, peas, and other cool season crops perform best in the cooler
temperatures of spring and fall. Don’t worry if you missed spring planting in your region. You can add these to your garden in summer or fall for a fall or early winter harvest.
Bring your plan and start your visit with a walk through the garden center. You’ll get the general layout and willprobably find the herbs and vegetables grouped together. Individual types of plants are usually arranged in alphabetical order.
Check the plant tags for more details on that particular plant. The tags usually tell you the size, spacing and time to harvest for each plant.
And now with the help of technology you can break out your smart phone to get more extensive plant information way beyond what the plant tags provide as well as help with all of these steps. Shoppers will find that some plant tags now have QR codes that can be scanned to provide them with a plethora of gardening information at their fingertips. For example, this spring Bonnie Plants launched a “Gardening at Your Fingertips” mobile site in Spanish which features detailed how-to information geared toward vegetable and herb gardeners who are on-the-go, including planting tips, descriptions, recipes and free planting plans at m.bonnieplants.com/es . The English version can be viewed on smartphones at at m.bonnieplants.com .
Make this a fun family activity. Get the whole family involved planting, tending, and harvesting the garden. Even picky eaters are likely to add
vegetables to their meals when they help grow them themselves.
For more gardening tips visit my web site at www.melindamyers.com