Successful Vegetable Gardening

By Robert Jacobson

Planting a vegetable garden is a rewarding project. Vegetable gardening will past the time quickly, and yield a bounty of fresh produce to enjoy through the summer months, especially with many people home currently with time on their hands.

Let us get started!

Choose a sunny location.
Preparing the soil is the first step to ensure the best results.
Start by turning the soil and removing any weeds from the plot you choose to prepare.

Most vegetable gardens, and flower beds as well, will benefit from adding organic matter to the soil regardless of how good your soil is. Considering we are in New England though, most soils are likely to be rocky, sandy and on the acidic side.
By tilling in cow manure compost and peat moss as well as some lime you can improve the soil for planting.

This can be done in the fall or the spring.  If you do this in the spring, remember that the lime you add to sweeten the soil, takes time to react in the soil, so using a faster acting lime is recommended for spring application.

Be sure any manures and composts used are well rotted.

Any products used that are not rotted down thoroughly may hinder the growth of the plants due to urea (nitrogen) or acidity that may be released as they break down.

The final product to add to the soil will be the fertilizer. You can use organic based fertilizers or regular fertilizer like 10-10-10 or 5-10-5. I prefer the organics which tend to release beneficial nutrients slower than chemical fertilizers but both will give the proper nutrients that your plants will need to grow. Later when the plants are established you can supplement the feeding with liquid fertilizers that are usually applied directly to the plant foliage. These work best when temperatures are warmer and the plants are growing rapidly.

You can use large pots or planters to grow vegetables if you don’t have a good site to dig a garden. For container gardening use potting soils mixed with compost and add the proper fertilizers.

You can start planting your garden. Choose from seeds or small starter plants ready growing.

In the following paragraphs I will break down what vegetables should be started from seeds indoors and which can be sown directly into the garden, the best seasons to grow certain crops, and which are also available in starter plants.

Let us start with early or cool season crops.

In March or early April, (weather permitting, that means that the ground is not frozen or no snow is on the ground), the best vegetables to sow directly into the ground are; Peas, lettuce, spinach, radish, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, parsnips, parsley, beets, kohlrabi, turnip, Swiss chard, onions.
Most of these are also available in starter plants as well  peas, carrots, radish, and parsnips which need to be seeded into the soil. The other vegetables listed can be seeded indoors or outdoors. Onions also come in sets (mini bulbs) for planting directly to the soil.

The following warm season crops like tomatoes can be started inside, transplanting to the garden later.

Start indoors, tomato, pepper, and eggplant, in March or early April. They germinate slowly.

Other crops to start in April indoors or from May to June directly to the garden are the following. These include; cucumber, all squash varieties, pumpkin, beans, corn. Most of these germinate quickly. Read the seed packets for specific seeding requirements. Remember, starter plants are available for most warm season crops if you don’t want to start plants from seeds for most of the above vegetables.

The information above cannot be reproduced without written consent from Robert Jacobson, Grove Garden Center