It’s almost time! Garden planting for warm season vegetables is around the corner. A little thought and planning will insure you’ll be eating and sharing your harvest in now time! Techniques and advice follows…
As with cool season veggies, warm season veggies have their own likes, dislikes, and requirements for cultivation. There are different growing methods for sowing and raising seeds of various types. For instance, some need to be started indoors weeks in advance of transplanting outside while others can and some only should be direct sown in the garden. It can be quite confusing, especially if you aren’t aware of all the particulars and just want to plant a few seeds.
For veggies that prefer to be direct sown in the garden, don’t be tempted to buy the plants. It’s really a waste of $$ and the plants will actually grow more happily having not endured the transplant shock.
As with all gardening, soil preparation is key to plant vitality. A current “green” gardening philosophy says “feed the soil, not the plant.” Nothing is better for soil and plant health than compost. If you don’t have, start a compost pile today for next seasons garden, and amend the soil with an organic planting mix or a high quality top soil/ compost blend from a local supplier. Do your homework and ask lots of questions as they are not all created equal.
Direct sowing is less work but does involve more patience. The seed packet contains all the information needed to know, but that’s not the whole story. Mother nature can throw some curve balls at your garden just as those tender seedlings are emerging. A heavy rain storm can come along, scavenging insects, birds or rabbits scouting for a meal… you get the picture. Fabric row covers help a great deal and protect plants from cool night temps while letting light and water in. I usually just take my chances, although I once had birds eat an entire row of sunflower seeds! A good sense of humor is helpful!
One of the most important factors in planting the garden is to follow the recommendations for row, plant and seed spacing. These plants grow, some to enormous proportions at a very rapid pace. Veggie plants need air and light, so think it through. For instance, plant tall varieties such as okra (a personal family favorite) where the plants will not cast shadows on you other crops.
A garden location with plenty of sun is ideal. Six hours is considered full sun and is actually ideal in central VA due to our hot summer temps. Morning sun is always best!
A basic breakdown of seeds to direct sow in the garden verses plants that need to need to go into to the garden as seedlings.
PLANT IN GARDEN AS SEEDLINGS
Growing plants from seeds is one of the most magical experiences of nature’s promise. It’s amazing to consider- a tiny seed contains everything it needs to know to become it’s glorious self. It’s a great way to nurture ourselves and a really fun endeavor, especially with children. Happy planting!
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