Spring Garden SuccessFeb 15th, 2013 | By Cecilia | Category: Grow Something, show tips, spring, the show
Growing your own food takes patience and knowledge.
You’re on your own for the patience, but we can help you with a few tips to supplement your knowledge base. And for that it made sense to go to someone who grows food crops for a living: Cathy Slaughter of Gabriel Valley Farms in Georgetown, Texas.
Cathy and her husband Sam have been growing certified organic herb and vegetable plants for the wholesale market since 1990. If you live in Central Texas, and buy organic transplants for your vegetable garden, chances are pretty good they came from Gabriel Valley Farms.
Whether you live in Texas or Timbuktu, Cathy’s tips will help the beginning food garden on their way to a successful spring and summer season.
Tips for a Successful Spring Food Garden
- Amend the soil by adding compost. Veggies like a well drained soil rich in organic matter.
- Plant recommended varieties at the suggested planting date. See your local AgriLife extension agent’s or Master Gardener’s recommendations.
- Keep a close eye on new seedlings and transplants. Wind, heavy rain, critters, can harm delicate new plants. Take precaution and mulch or cover if freezing weather is predicted.
- The soil surface can dry out quickly so keep newly seeded areas moist until seeds germinate.
- Mark your rows to identify what is planted & where. Popsicle sticks, plastic plant id tags available at retail nurseries are useful for signage.
- Keep a garden diary so you will know what crops were planted where the previous season. It is important to rotate your root & above ground crops yearly and not grow the same crop in the same location each year.
- Keep an eye out for insects (aphids, thrips, squash borers, caterpillars). Use only organic products on your edibles, check with your local nurseryman for recommendations.
- If soil has been amended properly with compost, little to no fertilization is necessary. A foliar application of fish emulsion, seaweed & molasses is beneficial.
- As the season heats up, use mulch (hay, pine bark) to conserve water & deter weeds.
- Use drip tape, soaker hoses or drip emitters to conserve water. Overhead sprinklers use more water and cause fungal leaf spot. If watering by hand or with a sprinkler, do so early in the day rather than at night.
Growing a food garden doesn’t have to cause anxiety as long as you remember that you are merely the valet, or concierge. You supply your seeds and transplants with what they need, and they take care of the rest.