Of the Garden Variety | Julie Kuehl
It's all about space
Whether you have a huge yard or simply a large container, you can have a garden. This week's column will address vegetable gardens. The first step is to determine what types of vegetables you like.
For some, it may be as simple as fresh tomatoes, in which case you can go to your favorite nursery and purchase a tomato plant, large container – at least 14 inches across, soil – I like Miracle-Gro, a cage to stake your tomato as it grows and a sunny spot – six hours of sunlight a day is necessary. Others may want to plant a salsa garden. In that case you will want to use an extra-large container, purchase a meaty variety of tomato, two hot pepper plants and a cilantro plant. You will need also need onions for your salsa, but they are cheap and easily purchased. A tip to remember with container planting is to be sure to keep the plants watered. The container gardens will dry out more quickly than a regular garden.
Some may want to plant a larger garden. Determine which veggies you want to grow and how much space you will need. Most seed packets or plant tags can help with this. The rule of thumb would be 18 inches between rows to enable easy access. A 16- by 20-foot garden will feed a family of four. Your garden requires at least five to six hours of sunlight a day. Make sure the spot you want to plant has been worked up so that planting can be done easily. You may wish to add some compost to make sure there are adequate nutrients to grow your veggies. Always leave enough room between plants such as tomatoes, peppers, etc., for them to spread and so you will still be able to walk around to weed and harvest. Make sure you have ready access to water as you will need to water at least once a week, depending on rain. Keeping on top of weeding your garden is a good idea.
A third choice would be to have a raised garden, which saves bending. You may want to check out the community garden beds available through the city of Amery.
A few tips for first-time vegetable gardeners: Onions, carrots and radishes are some vegetables that give you one vegetable per plant; others, such as cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, etc., will give you large quantities of produce. Always be sure to read the information on packets or plant tags. Remember to start small. You can plant cool-weather veggies such as lettuce or radishes in with your tomato plant and harvest before the tomato plant is too large. Make sure to keep your garden watered during extremely hot weather.
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