Spring Vegetable Gardens: Are you hungry?
Hello Fellow Earthlings, and welcome to the produce section of your garden.
It's warming up outside, and to many of you that means the inner farmer is
trying to get you out into the garden to grow some food. While everyone
else in this wacky world is trying to get in touch with their inner child,
beach, or whatever, let us get in touch with our inner farm hand. So why
don't we take a stroll out to the back forty and look over our domains in
order to get some ideas on what to grow this year.
Spring gardens are a time when the widest variety of crops can be grown due
to the mildness of the climate at this time of year. Many cool season
vegetables grow very well during the spring and it is probably the best
time of year to get many of your warm season crops started so that an early
harvest can be achieved. In this discussion, we will be briefly identifying
some of the types of vegetables that can be easily grown in the spring garden.
First let's talk about cool season veggies. The two most common cool season
vegetable types that are normally grown by the home gardener are members of
the brassica and the legume families of plants.
The brassica group includes
broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, kale, Brussels sprouts, turnips, radishes,
and beets. These crops respond very well to spring weather, and will grow
very fast during this time of year.
Legumes include beans and peas. These
crops grow very fast during this time of year. Planting pole bean varieties
and climbing peas will also offer the children an opportunity to get
involved in the garden.
Building tipis out of bamboo or wooden stakes and
letting the vines climb them can create some very fun outdoor play shelters
for children that are more interactive than playhouses or fort structures.
The benefit of building these types of places for the kids to hide is that
they will inevitably eat some of the bounty from these play areas. This is
one of the very good reasons not to resort to the use of chemicals in the
garden. It is also an effective way to get children to eat fresh
Try a bean or pea tipi and see how well it works. Plant edible
pod green beans or snow peas for this experiment, the kids will love their
sweet flavors and you will have succeeded in getting picky eaters to eat
their veggies at their freshest.
Spring planting of warm season vegetables like tomatoes, squash, melons,
peppers, and corn is a good way to get a head start on harvesting. I think
that one of the best reasons to plant warm season vegetables early is that
young plants will experience fewer instances of water stress during milder
Early planting also gives plants like tomatoes and peppers or
eggplant an opportunity to focus on growing a larger plant before warmer
weather begins to stimulate blossom and fruit setting. Most tomatoes and
peppers will not set fruit until nighttime temperatures exceed 60 degrees.
So you can focus on growing larger plants that will produce more fruit when
the warm weather sets in.
It is also a good idea to plant early varieties
of tomatoes so that you can get some fresh fruit before the neighbors.
Planting melons, cucumbers and squash at this time of year also allows for
plants to attain larger size in order to better support larger harvests as
warmer weather sets in.
Corn is one of my personal favorites for early
planting. Use early varieties when planting at this time of year and
stagger plantings at two-week intervals to extend your harvest. It is a
better practice to plant corn in small blocks of space than to plant a
single row. By planting corn in this way you will have better pollination
and increased numbers of luscious ultra-sweet ears.
These are just a few of the many reasons that spring vegetable gardening
can be a rewarding endeavor that can also be a very enjoyable family
project. Next time we will be discussing the art of companion planting for
insect and disease control in your Edens. See you in the Garden!
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