Vegetable and Container Gardening
The Best Plants for Your Vegetable Garden:
In choosing plants for your new garden the most important factor is what you like. You'll have more fun gardening if you choose vegetable plants that produce food you love to eat!
Tomatoes, peppers, basil, lettuce, kale, beans, cucumbers, and squash are all excellent choices for the beginner gardener.
If you are container gardening, tomatoes, peppers, herbs, and leafy greens are your best choices.
Before you plant outside:
If you have grown your plants from seed or they have come from a greenhouse they will need to be acclimatized to outdoor conditions. With small seedlings do this by placing them outside in a location sheltered from too much wind or sun for one to two hours at a time. Increase the amount of time you leave them out everyday for the next week or two until you can leave them out full time. After they are fully acclimated you can plant them in your garden or outdoor container as long as danger of frost has passed, but remember to keep an eye on the weather report and if there is any risk of a late frost to
cover your plants, or if possible bring them inside.
When container gardening choose a container that is large enough to accommodate the mature size of your chosen plant. Your container should have drainage holes to prevent overwatering.
Use a potting soil formulated for container growing. Container soil is lighter than ordinary black earth and provides better aeration and water retention.
If you're able to lift your container once it's planted, one of the best ways to water is to familiarize yourself with how much your container weighs when the soil is wet and how light it gets when the soil is dry, watering anytime it's light. You will of course need to water more often in hot weather than in cooler weather.
What to do if something is eating holes in your plant's leaves:
Insects are a common garden problem, and in most cases an insecticidal soap will help. Identifying the type of insect that is snacking on your plant will help you find the right product to treat it. Look on the tops and bottoms of leaves and the stems of the plant for insects and take note of exactly how the leaves are being damaged.
Fertilizing your garden:
Just like us, plants need food to grow. All fertilizers will have three numbers on the package. These correlate to the percent of the three primary nutrients present in the product. Those nutrients are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Nitrogen stimulates growth and helps plants to photosynthesize. Phosphorus stimulates root growth and helps flowering plants to bloom and fruiting plants to produce
fruit. Potassium helps maintain the overall health of the plant and helps regulate the cell function of the plant.
For most vegetables a multi-purpose fertilizer with equal numbers or close to equal numbers will be a great choice for maintenance and health of the plant. If you are growing fruiting plants such as tomatoes, peppers, or eggplant a fertilizer higher in phosphorus with a higher middle number may help the plant produce more fruit for you.