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It’s time to plant your spring vegetables! Also, Earth Day is Friday, April 22, so consider some sustainable gardening practices. Billy Carroll of Pike Nurseries is here to tell us why we should plant a vegetable garden and show us how to start our sustainable vegetable garden this spring.
Why plant a vegetable garden?
- The reasons are endless! Growing vegetables like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplants and more is fun and lets you enjoy the harvest.
- Local products are also tastier and more nutritious, and you know exactly where they come from and how they were grown.
- We’ve all seen grocery store prices go up – growing your own vegetables will save you money this summer, and in the future, if you can or save your harvest.
- The most important element you will need is full sun – you need an area in the garden or on your patio that receives 6 hours or more of direct sunlight.
- Then choose what you like to eat – tomatoes, peppers, hot peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, beans, peas – there are so many options.
- Have fun with it – plant your favorites and try something new too!
- If you are close to your neighbors, grow different things and then share your harvest.
- Gather your supplies.
- If you are planting in the garden, it is important to amend the native soil which lacks organic matter and has poor drainage. You will want to amend native soil in a 50/50 ratio with Pike’s Tomato and Vegetable Planting Mix – remember that when planting in soil, you are always using planting mix.
- If you’re planting in pots, you’ll need a rich, organic potting soil like our Pike Pot and Soil. When choosing a pot, make sure it’s the right size – tomatoes have an extensive root system and look best in a pot that’s at least 14 inches wide. Remember, if you’re not sure what pot size would fit, ask any Pike associate and we can help.
- Whether you’re planting in the ground or in a container, you’ll need the Dr. Earth 100% Organic Root Zone that you add when planting to provide extra nutrients that also help with transplant shock.
- Finally, if you are planting tomatoes or peppers, you need a tomato cage. Place the cage on the plant right after planting it so that it has the support of the cage as it grows so that the fruit does not touch the ground. It is also much easier to place the cage on your small starter plant compared to a larger, unruly plant.
Tips for a successful vegetable garden
Water! – vegetables such as pleasant and consistent water; especially the tomatoes.
- Be sure to give your vegetables deep water—you want to water until you see it draining. This allows water to penetrate deep into the soil, promoting a deep and healthy root system
- It is best to water your vegetables between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. This helps prevent water evaporation during the hot afternoon sun
- Try not to water your vegetables or outdoor plants at night. Water left on your plants overnight can lead to fungus problems
Food – just like you, vegetables need food to grow strong and healthy. Most vegetables are heavy feeders and a good regular feeding schedule will not only help them produce a larger harvest, but can also prevent various plant problems.
- Feed your vegetables on a regular schedule with Dr. Earth Homegrown 100% Organic Fertilizer. We really like to use this 100% organic food since you will be eating the fruit
Questions – if you have any questions about planting your spring vegetable garden or run into any problems along the way, remember we’re here for you! Our local horticulturists at Pike Nurseries love to help you with all of your gardening projects. For more information, visit PikeNursery.com.