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Growing Vegetables

September 6, 2021

Growing Vegetables

Growing Vegetables

The list of benefits to growing your own vegetables is so extensive that we often can not resist the notion of growing our own. Who does not like saving money on groceries, eating fresh, nutrient-dense food, and developing a strong sense of pride? Small space? No problem! Veggies can be grown in containers too.

Follow this guide to get your garden ready for an organic edible area.

WHERE TO GROW
  • Vegetables need a minimum of 6 hours of direct sunlight per day.
  • Plant away from tree roots, in well-drained, level soil with easy access to a garden hose.
  • Add 20–30 cm (8–12”) of peat moss, manure, and/or compost, as well as granular Fafard® Natural Fertilizer for Vegetable Gardens 4-3-7 to the top layer to enrich the soil before you plant.
  • Group the vegetable crops according to height to prevent one from shading another.
  • Plan to put the small-growing, quick-maturing plants together as well. Keep in mind that some vegetables really like to sprawl.
HOW TO PLANT
  • You can start vegetables from seed in propagation trays in your home in March/April.
  • You can sow seeds directly into cool soil in April for the best yields of peas, lettuce, onions, radishes, beets, and spinach. These particular seeds can be sown again in late August for a second “cool-weather” crop that matures in fall.
  • You can purchase plants that are started in May at a Sheridan Nurseries Garden Centre.
  • For specific planting instructions, make sure to read the plant tag carefully.
  • At the time of planting your started vegetables, water in Parkwood® Transplanter 5-15-5 to minimize transplant shock and establish strong roots.
MAINTENANCE
  • One month after planting, apply Fafard® Natural Fertilizer for Vegetable Gardens 4-3-7 for a slow, steady release of nutrients all summer long.
  • Vegetables will not tolerate competition from weeds, so keep the area weed-free. This can be done by laying down porous landscape fabric and/or a thick layer of mulch between rows, such as cedar mulch, pine needles, or bark chips.
  • If necessary, pull weeds by hand or gently cultivate with a hoe without disturbing shallow roots.
  • Watering is crucial to success; never allow the soil to dry out completely. It should be moist at all times. Feel the surface with your hand for coolness or dig down 10 cm (4”) to see exactly how far water has penetrated.
  • Watch carefully for insects and disease. Sheridan Nurseries sells several lines of natural environmentally friendly insecticides and fungicides that can be used safely. Consult one of our experts for easy solutions to your questions.
  • Harvest your vegetables promptly when they’re at their peak; you can freeze or give away the surplus.
TOMATOES

Selecting which tomato varieties you wish to grow depends on your preference for such things as sweetness, meatiness (beefsteak types), and quickness to maturity.

  • The early tomatoes ripen 8–10 weeks after planting, while the later varieties ripen in about 12 weeks.
  • Tomatoes need to gradually get used to the light, wind, and variable spring temperatures. This is done by setting them out during the day in shade and moving them into a bit more sun each day for 5 days. Bring them inside overnight if freezing temperatures are predicted. This process is called “hardening off.” Tomatoes are extremely frost sensitive; plant them only once all risk of frost has passed.
  • For all varieties (excluding cherry tomatoes), insert a strong stake into the ground right beside the plant so you won’t damage the root system with insertion later. Another option is to place a tomato cage over the whole plant. As the tomato grows larger, tie the main stem securely to the stake.
  • Since diseases can build up in the soil, grow your tomatoes in a different part of your vegetable garden every 1–2 years. This is known as crop rotation and it’s a good idea for all the vegetables you grow.
  • Tomato plants are heavy feeders and benefit from regular applications of fertilizer, we suggest Shake n’ Feed Tomato/Vegetable or Parkwood® 20-20-20.

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