While visiting the local grocery store’s produce section, I checked out the tomatoes. They’re vine ripened and organically grow, Hey Great! Look at the price, OUUCH! The next display had a better price per pound but the tomatoes looked whitish/pink and probably tasted like pasty chalk. Next stop the salad greens, the price on the mesclun mix really hurt! At home after shopping I sat down (carefully, I was still sore) and stared out the window at the snow-covered garden. The daydreams of B.L.T.s and eggplant parmesan started. I felt how lucky I was to be able to harvest fresh, organically grown produce right in my own backyard. Enough daydreaming, it’s time to pull out the pencil and paper and draw up your veggie and herb gardens for this spring.
Pesche’s Garden Center has a great supply of fresh seeds and all the starting supplies you’ll need.
Our seed suppliers are: Livingston Seed Company, Botanical Interests, and Pagano.
Make a list of what you’re planting this year and stop in!
If you’re starting a new garden or working on an existing plot, here’s some ideas to help you to utilize all your growing area for maximum results.
Save space and get great production with BUSH varieties from Livingston Seeds. Bush beans and peas don’t require trellising. Bush cucumbers and squash won’t take over your garden.
Here’s are recommendations:
- Bush Beans – Blue Lake, Gourmet Green, Top Crop, Pencil Pod Black, Ford Hook 2, Royal burgundy, and Roma II
- Bush Cucumbers – Spacemaster and Burpless Bush
- Bush Squash – Bush Butternut, Bush Zucchini and White Bush Scallop
- Bush Watermelon – Bush Sugar Baby
Draw a sketch of this year’s planting area
Plan out your garden for this year and think ahead for next year!
- Exercise crop rotation. Tomatoes, peppers and eggplants (the Solanacea family) are often troubled by soil born diseases that can build up yearly. Rotate these crops with greens, lettuce, turnips and radishes. Peas and beans fix nitrogen from the air into their roots. Rotate these legume crops with heavy feeders like corn. Layout your garden in a grid; keep in mind crop rotation for next year.
- Use pathways for ease of access and to avoid soil compaction. Stepping stones, mulch or a pathway of rye grass all work well. The rye can be turned into the soil or composted after the growing year.
- Consider building raised beds; they have several advantages. The elevated bed provides extra depth for stronger roots and the weed problems are less. The soil will warm up quicker than a ground level plot; you’ll be able to get the garden in earlier. Cultivating a raised bed is kinder and gentler on your back.
- How about a rain barrel this year? Save on water bills and treat your plants to de–chlorinated water. Run some soaker hoses thru your garden; your plants will develop stronger root systems and you’ll conserve water.
- Figure in an area for a compost bin. Compost is the most complete plant food and the best soil conditioner there is!
- Increase your gardens production and cut down on pesticide use by inter–planting bushes, flowers and herbs that attract beneficial insects and pollinators.
- Take advantage of open space in your garden. Start an early spring crop of snow peas, lettuce, spinach, radishes and Swiss chard in the area where you’ll be planting tomatoes and peppers later. You should be able to get a first harvest in before the end of May.
Remember, Dream Green!
Carrots Love Tomatoes by Louise Riotte
Roses Love Garlic by Louise Riotte
Secrets to Great Soil by Elizabeth P. Stell
Healthy Garden Healthy You by Milo Shammas Founder of Dr. Earth Fertilizers
The Veggie Gardener’s Answer Book by Barbara W. Ellis
Vertical Vegetables & Fruit by Rhonda Massingham Hart