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  • Writer's pictureBret & Amber Tueller

How to Help Your Veggies Grow - We Asked an Expert

Avid Gardner and Tagawa Garden Ambassador Luan Akin



Five Tips for Home-grown Veggies

In our enthusiasm to get our veggie gardens up and growing, now’s a good time to dust off some basic do’s and don’ts before we start to plant.



Give your plant the right light

Whether you’re growing in containers or garden beds, the right light can make all the difference in how well a vegetable crop will do.

 

Fruit-producing crops like tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers and beans need six to eight hours of full sun. Leafy crops like different varieties of lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard and other greens prefer four to six hours of sun. They’ll appreciate some protection from the harshest after light.





Good soil is a must

Never skip on providing good soil. If you’re planting in garden beds, work in two to three inches of compost when the beds are dry. If you’re growing in containers, it’s ideal to replace all of the soil each season. But if you’d like to stretch your gardening dollars and the old soil is free of insects and disease, thoroughly mix in half new soil.

 

 

Grow what you know you like

Be sure to include what you and your family love to eat. Cherry tomatoes for the kids, maybe? Herbs for cooking or cucumbers for great summer salads? But if room permits, be adventurous! How about little shishito peppers for stir-fries? Or tasty scarlet runner beans that also bring in the hummers?




 Dry roots won’t make for tasty veggies

If you’re planting from seed, this is critical: Without enough water, once seeds sprout, they don’t wilt. They die. Never let your seed bed dry out. A light watering two or even three times a day may be needed until leaves are clearly visible.

 

If you’re starting from small veggie plants, make sure their tiny root system never dries out. As the plants grow, give them enough water to soak down to the lowest roots.

 

 

Fertilize properly

Don’t love your plants to death. Follow the feeding instructions on the product’s label. Too much fertilizer can easily burn your plants or invite hungry insects and ruin what could have been a great crop!

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