Saturday, May 16, 2015

Tips for New Gardeners - and When Should I Plant?

Gardens are a connection to life.  What better way to live nature then putting in a vegetable garden.  And the joy of biting into a freshly-made BLT sandwich knowing you grew the tomatoes yourself.  You can't beat home grown produce.  A fresh tomato tastes so much better than one grown in Mexico, harvested while it was still green, and shipped up to Meijer in mass quantity.  

Your new garden doesn't have to be big -- a 10' x 10' plot will give you room for a few tomato plants, some lettuce and some herbs.  Here's some quick tips: 
  • If you are putting in a new garden, be very deliberate about where you will put it.  The best place is near a water source and remember that your vegetables will do better when they get at least the full eight hours of sun daily.
  • Plants need 1 to 2" of water a week, so look around.  Where is your water source?  Also, that small pear tree may grow 30 to 40 feet and block the sun from hitting your garden.

  • My best tip:  After the plants sprout, I recommend you put some sort of mulch or grass clippings around your vegetable plants.  This helps keep moisture in the soil and keeps weeds at bay. 
Don't get overly excited about starting your new garden and put the seeds and plants in too early.  The back of many seed packets give advice to plant them after the last frost.  For the Grand Rapids area, I recommend you wait until Memorial Day weekend.  A few kinds of seeds can be planted earlier.  Cool weather plants like peas can be planted before Memorial Day.  It's best to refer to the back of the seed packet for advice!
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This year I'm planting tomato plants, pumpkin and squash.    What are you planning on planting this year?  

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