1 Prepare the soil by turning it over, adding a fertilizer and letting it sit for two weeks before introducing plants.
2 When planting, pack the soil loosely to allow the roots space to grow.
3 Add worm castings to the soil after planting.
4 Water on a daily basis to begin with, then as needed.
5 Be patient. Planting to picking times can depend on the weather.
Tomatoes. Peppers. Cucumbers. Squash. Zucchini. Eggplant. Okra. What says summer more than a rainbow of freshly grown vegetables?
Tomatoes and peppers are prime vegetables for the newer gardener, said Melanie Mayo, spokesperson for Crabtree Farms.
"I think the most rewarding thing to grow is just a tomato," she said, "because you don't have to cook it, you don't have to do anything, you just take it off the vine and eat it."
Like tomatoes, peppers are also fairly easy. "Peppers are especially popular for growing because they can take a lot of heat and a lot of torture," Mayo said. "When it's hot in August and everything is dead, peppers will keep on producing."
Mayo said using raised beds or planting in-ground is up to the gardener, although raised beds tend to produce fewer weeds, she said.
Preparing beds for summer vegetables is pretty easy, she said. One will begin by turning the soil over and adding a fertilizer or compost tea.
"Let the soil sit for about two weeks and then plant," she said. She recommends adding worm castings around each plant.
The method of planting and maintaining different vegetables does not vary much as long as small plant starts are being used.
Place the plant below the soil surface, burying it down at least an inch, and don't pack too tight, Mayo said. The roots need to have a little space to spread. Taller plants such as tomatoes can be planted a tad deeper, but a trailing plant such as lettuce should be planted even with soil.
Water daily for the first week or two, and then use a finger to check the soil. "If you don't get anything stuck to your finger, it's too dry," she said.
Holly Leber is a reporter and columnist for the Life section. She has worked at the Times Free Press since March 2008. Holly covers “everything but the kitchen sink" when it comes to features: the arts, young adults, classical music, art, fitness, home, gardening and food. She writes the popular and sometimes-controversial column Love and Other Indoor Sports. Holly calls both New York City and Saratoga Springs, NY home. She earned a bachelor of arts ...
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