Once your soil is in good condition and your ready to plant, follow these tips to start, and keep, your organic garden growing.
Prepare & Maintain: Clean-up your garden area in the fall. Remove all debris and weeds from a vegetable garden. Do not compost weeds - you might transfer seeds to your compost pile. Prep the soil. In spring and summer maintain weeding and mulching. If you don't have a local seed supplier, check online for a seed catalog and order early.
Right Plant, Right Place, Right Time. Decide if you will start from seed or young plant. Planting time will vary. Choose plants based on your growing zone, which is shown on the seed packaging or found online. Consider a vegetable plant's need for light/shade, moisture and the weather patterns typical for your area. Check the yield on the packaging for plants that you intend to grow. Some plants produce rapidly, such as cucumbers and tomatoes.
Go Native. It makes sense to use plants that are known to successfully grow in your area. Native species, seeds or plants, can be found at local growers and community supported agriculture (CSA) farms. These farmers can also tell you if a native plant has been prone to disease in your area.
Go Disease-Resistant. Certain varieties of vegetables are the superheroes of disease resistance, and are easy to grow. A partial list: Green beans, snap beans, yellow wax beans, cucumbers, Zucchini elite, black magic eggplant, Lady Bell Pepper; Klondike Yellow Bell; Cubanelle, Italian Sweet, Cherry Sweet. Tomato- Jet Star, Jackpot, Supersteak, Supersweet Cherry, Cherry Presto.
Diverse Companions. Include, and properly space, a variety of companion plants - herbs and flowers - with your vegetables, according to your growing zone. For example, dill, parsley, and angelica, can be planted near your vegetable garden to attract beneficial insects and enhance biodiversity.
Keep a Garden Journal. Note weather patterns, combinations of plants and effects on growth and pest control. Record the yield from your plants and their quality (appearance and taste). Take photos throughout the growing season.
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