Vegetable Gardening 101

For those of you who included ‘create vegetable patch’ in your list of new year’s resolutions, then I am afraid it is already time to get to work.

Yes, this is the month to prepare those garden plots for the spring.

In just a few weeks, you’ll be able to plant your asparagus, potatoes, radishes and all kinds of lettuce and leafy greens.

Just a month later, warm season crops such as tomatoes, peppers, green beans, okra, black-eyed peas, cucumbers, and all kinds of squash can be planted in.

Pick a garden site that gets plenty of sunlight and is well-drained, and dig over the soil, adding generous amounts of organic compost.

If you’re not composting all your leaves, kitchen scraps and grass clipping at home, then don’t despair. There is a myriad of choices available at your local garden centers.

Some are made from cow and turkey manure, and others from vegetative sources such as alfalfa and cotton gin trash. Often you’ll find composts that blend these animal and vegetable components together.

You should mix generous amounts of compost into the top 6 to 12 inches of the garden soil. This will help with moisture retention, aeration, and drainage. It gives life to otherwise poor soils by adding beneficial microbes to the soil.

Besides compost, it’s important to add organic, slow release fertilizer. This provides the primary ‘macro-nutrient’ building blocks for plant growth: (N) nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K). 

Look for fertilizers which also contain micro-nutrients such as magnesium, calcium, sulfur and iron.

Cottonseed meal and alfalfa meal are highly effective sources of organic plant food. Both also stimulate the growth of existing beneficial bacterias.

Other sources include bat guano, earthworm castings, blood meal and bone meal.

If you’re looking for a blended fertilizer with all the nutrients needed for strong plant growth, Espoma’s Garden Tone is one of my top favorites.

Time’s getting short and spring garden season is just around the corner. It’ll be here before you know it. Happy Gardening Everyone!

For another resource on asparagus, click here.

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