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    Veggie Garden Q and A

    Do you have some ideas for my very first vegetable garden?

     

    Start small. Your garden can be just a patch in a sunny area. Keep it simple. Plant only a few kinds of seeds. Beans, cucumbers, squash, greens such as swiss chard, are some of the most reliable. Mulch your garden soil when plants are small. You'll have hardly any weeds as your plants mature! Plants get "tired" too. Think in terms of seasons in your garden: a spring, a summer, and a fall season. Replant frequently during the growing season.

     

    What type of insecticides should I use for my vegetables?

     

    It depends on the insect. First, identify the damage it's doing and find the insect. Dust or spray according to pest. Follow label directions. Insecticidal soap spray is often effective. Or wash bugs off with water. Keeping weeds under control around the garden is also a good way to control insects, because the insects like to live in the weeds. Keep plants growing healthy with plenty of water, and keep the garden weeded or mulched.

     

    Is it safe to dust or spray vegetables just before harvest?

     

    In general, no. Hand-pick insects and wash off with stream of water.

     

    How much will my vegetable plants yield?

     

    The amount of harvest that a vegetable plant will produce is practically impossible to report because production depends on so many factors. The best way to get the maximum production from your vegetable plants is to:
    1. Plant for the three seasons.
    2. Select varieties with disease resistance or tolerance.
    3. Select varieties which have done well in your area before.
    4. Plant at recommended spacing.
    5. Keep weeds under control.
    6. Provide at least 1 inch of water per week.

    Is summer too late to start a vegetable garden?

     

    Summer is not too late to start your vegetable garden. Loosen the soil, then plant your vegetable seeds directly into the garden, following the instructions on the back of the packet.

     

    What fertilizer should I use for my vegetable plants?

     

    Add a balanced fertilizer (examples: 10-10-10, 5-10-5) to soil as you prepare it, then plant. Or scatter a little balanced fertilizer around the plants after you've planted them; water in. Or use composted manure or composted plant material. Do not get dry fertilizer on the plants -- it may "burn" them. "Balanced" doesn't mean the numbers in the formula are all the same. A balanced fertilizer contains some of all three essential plant nutrients: Nitrogen (N *), Phosphorus (P *), and Potassium or potash (K *). Follow directions on container. (*) = The chemical symbol of the nutrient.

     

    What does 5-10-5 mean?

     

    This is the fertilizer's formula (see the label on the fertilizer container). It contains 5% available nitrogen, 10% available phosphorus and 5% available potash for plant growth. The rest of the material (70%) is an inert carrier material.

     

    When should I fertilize my vegetable plants?

     

    Add a balanced fertilizer to soil as you prepare it, then plant. Or scatter a little balanced fertilizer around the plants after you've planted them; water in. Do not get dry fertilizer on the plants — it may "burn" them. Repeat one more time, before July 1 (in most areas).

     

    What vegetables can be dried?

     

    Beans, Cowpeas, Chopped Herbs, Hot Peppers, Popcorn, Sliced Pumpkin, Sweet Corn, Winter Squash

     

    How do I freeze vegetables?

     

    Cut into pieces, blanch in boiling water several minutes, plunge into icewater. Package and freeze immediately. Green Peppers, Snap Beans, Peas, Squash, Cut-Kernel Corn, Chunks of Eggplant, Chopped Onion

     

    What vegetables can be stored, and how?

     

    The following vegetables can be stored in a cool, dry place for later use: Beet, Cabbage, Carrot, Brussels Sprouts, Daikon Radish, Root Parsley, Kohlrabi, Onion, Parsnip, Peanut, Popcorn, Pumpkin, Winter Squash, Turnip.

     

    What is that white scalded area on the "cheek" of the fruit?

     

    Tomatoes "sunburn" if summer temperatures are very high without much leaf cover on plant. Mostly a problem in Zones 9 and 10. There isn't much you can do, but they are still okay to eat.