In celebration of Earth Day, we are heading back into the garden and getting our hands dirty. We asked a master gardener (and fellow Greenwich Mom) to share her best tips for growing and maintaining a veggie garden at home. Happy gardening!
1. Most vegetable gardens need full sun which means at least six hours of direct sunlight
2. Plant your tallest growing plants (indeterminate tomatoes, corn pole beans, peas) on the west or north side of the garden. This prevents these tall plants from shading the smaller vegetables in the garden.
3. Good soil is key. If the soil is compacted, add organic matter (composted leaves, shredded bark) into the existing soil until it is no longer compacted. This is often referred to as soft soil so the roots of the plants can easily penetrate the soil.
4. As a general rule, plants need one inch of water per week. If there is no rain, water the plants to ensure the plants have enough water to thrive.
5. Adding mulch to the soil helps to keep weeds down and the roots of the plants moist so they do not dry out.
6. Space the plants so there is no overcrowding. Read the instructions on the seed packets for spacing information. Squash plant spread and if not given enough room will crowd out other plants. Rows do not have to be straight; staggering the plants can yield more planting space without stressing the plants.
7. Planting marigold flower plants in the vegetable garden helps to discourage rabbits from eating your plants.
8. If planting tall growing plants, you will need stalks and ties (old stockings are good ties) to secure the plants so they do not topple over.
9. Be realistic as to the size of your garden. Do you have time to water, weed, and stake your plants every week?
10. If purchasing plants, choose fast maturing plants.
11. Practice crop rotation from year to year so the soil is not depleted of nutrients.
Some suggested plants: tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, beans (both bush and pole), sugar snap peas and peppers.
Gardening is a great activity for the whole family! For specific questions and/or advice regarding your own vegetable garden, please feel free to email us at [email protected].