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BONNIE’S GARDEN – I’ve Planted My Vegetables, Now What?

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

I just got all my veggies planted. I can put up my feet and relax now, right? Well—no. So here’s what I need to do now:

Keep Weeding

Right now, weeds are already popping up in my freshly planted raised beds. If I slack off, they get out of hand fast, so I’ll check every day or two and deal with them before they become a big problem.

Fertilize

I did amend the soil with compost. However, that does not replace quickly used-up nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, etc. That’s what a good fertilizer is for.

What is a good fertilizer? As an organic gardener, I use Espoma’s Tomato-tone. Tomato family members (tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, etc.) need extra calcium, which Tomato-tone has, so it’s good for them. Cucumbers, squash, etc. don’t need the extra calcium, but they don’t care if they get it so I use it on them, too. And, because it’s a good overall fertilizer, if there is anything left when I’m done with my veggies, I toss it in my perennial bed.

Whatever fertilizer you use, for blooming plants outdoors, the middle number, which is phosphorus, should be slightly higher than the first or last numbers, since phosphorus promotes flowering and we definitely want tomatoes, peppers, squash, beans, etc. to flower!

Keep An Eye On My Garden

And while I’m keeping an eye on it, I’ll be turning over the occasional leaf to check for potential problems, like insect eggs.

Replace Sprinklers with Soaker Hoses

So many of our vegetables are prone to powdery mildew and other fungal problems. With our generous summer humidity, we don’t need to add insult to injury by getting the foliage wet when we water.

Keep My Birdbath Filled

Huh? What does that have to do with vegetable gardens?

Ever had squirrels go after your green tomatoes? They take a bite and toss the rest. Believe it or not, they’re not eating your tomatoes. They’re after the moisture inside. I spray my green tomatoes with Hot Pepper Wax, a repellent that contains cayenne pepper. That makes the tomato unpleasant to eat. Then I provide the squirrels with an easily accessible water source a few feet away.

I do this every year and I’ve learned that the repellent works partly, but I get way better results by providing the squirrels something to drink elsewhere.

Appreciate My Garden

Most importantly, I need to take time to sit on my deck or patio and appreciate my garden. Sometimes I get so bogged down in the details that I forget to appreciate the bigger picture. I forget the pay-off—bees and butterflies flitting around my yard and delicious HOME-GROWN produce. Produce tastes best when it’s fresh. You can’t get fresher than growing it yourself!

We still have a great selection of both vegetable plants and seeds (for fast growing veggies like beans and cucumbers). Come in and let us help you select the best for your garden.

To read more from Bonnie, visit our blog

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