Hints for the Vegetable Gardner
Now can we talk about vegetable gardening? I am going to give you some suggestions taken from the book by the same name that the Men’s Garden Clubs of America complied in 1976.
A garden without rows? Intensive gardening utilizes all available garden space. This space saving method is based on the commercial French Intensive method developed in the 1890’s and later after being modified to meet the needs of the home gardener, was first popularized in California.
Vegetables are closely spaced and grown across the entire bed just far enough apart so that outer leaves touch when they reach maturity. First divide the garden plot into sections and subsections usually squares or rectangles, that range in size from 3-5 feet for root and leaf crops, 3 feet for bush peas and beans and 1 1/2 feet wide for vertical crops like tall peas, pole beans, cucumbers and staked tomatoes.
The sections may be mounded and framed with 2x4’s. Provide pathways for access for special beds more that 5-6 feet wide such as one for corn which can be grown 8’ apart. Be sure to add compost or manure, bone meal and wood ashes so that the soil is super fertile and of good texture. Conventional cultivation and mulching are not required.As plants grow, overlapping leaves shade out and prevent most weed growth.
Anxious to get going? Knowing when to plnat each vegetable is a must for a more productive garden. Once you know the average date of the last killing frost in your immediate area, you can determine the sequence of plant. Here are some general tips.
Mother nature’s plant guide
1. Plant peas and other cool season crops once color first develops in tulips and other spring bulbs
2. Mid season crops such as bush beans and early corn can go in when the first leaves appear on the trees
3. hold off planting warm season crops such as tomatoes and squash until blossom appear on apple, cherry, and strawberries.
Planting classification according to hardiness
Hardy plant as soon as the ground can be worked in the spring broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage plants, celeriac, celery, Chinese cabbage, collards, garlic, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, onions, peas, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, strawberries, turnips.
Semi hardy plants plant a week or twos after those classified as hardy beets, carrots, cauliflower, endive, lettuce, parsley parsnips, potatoes, salsify, Swiss chard.
Tender plant on or about the average date of last killing frost, bush and pole beans, sweet corn, horseradish, Jerusalem artichokes, hot weather spinach.
Very tender wait until the soil has warmed up usually about 10-20 days after the average date of the last killing frost, cucumbers, lima beans, soy beans, eggplant, gourds, okra, peanuts, peppers, pumpkins, summer squash, winter squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, muskmelons, watermelons.
Continuing with the planting of vegetables...plant second crop of fast maturing varieties for fall harvest. The following vegetables may be replanted in late June to August for a late crop. Count back from the average date of the first killing frost in the fall, pick quick maturing varieties (60-70 days) In planting a fall garden remember that summer plantings generally mature more rapidly than spring planted crops.
Days to maturity on seed packets refer to spring sown seed. Broccoli plants, cabbage plants, celery, Chinese cabbage, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, onions, peas, radishes, rutabagas, spinach, turnips, beets carrots cauliflower, endive, lettuce bush beans, cucumbers, summer squash, winter squash. Succession planting or double cropping. Once you’ve harvested an early crop, fertilize an put in another.
Follow lettuce, peas, or spinach with beans, harvest broccoli and plant corn as you pull cabbage, sow carrot seeds in the same place. Lettuce, chard, cabbage, cauliflower and spinach grow well in area previously occupied by nitrogen producing peas. Two rules of thumb, root crops should succeed top crops and vice versa, cabbage family members shouldn’t follow each other. Maintain a nursery inside under lights or in a sunny window to keep new, husky transplants coming. Basil planted near tomatoes helps growth and adds flavor to tomatoes, plus repels harmful insects. Ideal herb for drying.
Plant bush and pole varieties concurrently for a continuous harvest. As bush beans play out, pole beans are just coming in. For canning, make later sowings of bush beans. Bush beans require little or no fertilization boost, pole beans and lima beans however, are heavier feeders and welcome a side dressing once blossoms begin to form. For maximum yields, pick regularly, convert to wide row planting, which employs a long bank of closely spaced seeds, rather than widely spaced rows.
Width of row can range from 10” to 4’ length of row is optionally. Sow a bean seed every 2 1/2-3” across width of planting area, move down 6” and plant another wide row. Later thin to 6” between plants. Broccoli hints.
A cool season crop does well planted in early spring and again in midsummer for a fall crop. Set out transplants about 18” apart at the same time, plant 2 broccoli seeds between each plant for a fall crop. Give it some fish emulsion at least once before the heads start to from.
Signs of any yellow blossoms on the head indicate over maturity. First cutting of broccoli should include about 6-8” of stem but below second pair of leaves below flower head. High cutting retards growth of lateral heads. Brussels sprouts on the upper part of the plant will grow faster and attain large size if you pinch out the growing points in the top of each plant about mid Sept. When small heads first form, start removing leaves from the bottom 6” up at first, then 3-4” at a time as plant grows. Remove all leaves except those at the top.