published Saturday, August 4th, 2012

5 tips on starting a vegetable garden

August is the time to plant a fall vegetable garden.
Contributed photo by Joan Casanova
August is the time to plant a fall vegetable garden. Contributed photo by Joan Casanova

With intense interest in our area on buying locally grown vegetables, some area residents may be thinking about growing their own produce.

But where to begin?

Tim Holcomb, owner of Holcomb Garden Center in Hixson and Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., said the key ingredients in starting a garden are good soil, good food and consistent watering.

He also suggested that first-time gardeners may want to jump-start the process by first growing their favorite vegetables in containers.

"There's still time for a second season of gardening," said Joan Casanova, spokeswoman for Bonnie Plants. "Many of us think of vegetable gardens as something to be started in spring for a summer harvest. Truly savvy gardeners know that mid to end of summer is a great time to plant cool-weather crops for fall harvest.

Get started now to ensure your fall harvest is healthy, hefty and fulfilling, she said. "With preparation, the right plants and some diligence, you can bet on fresh, low-cost produce well into fall."

For more information on gardening, visit www.bonnieplants.com.

To start your first vegetable garden, Holcomb offered the following tips:

FIVE TIPS

1. The fastest and most productive way to get started is using containers. Fill 15- to 25-gallon containers with good potting mix, and you can grow just about anything.

2. If you start a bigger garden in your yard, you first need to prepare the soil, add planting mix to existing soil, as well as a good slow-release fertilizer for best results.

3. If you opt for a raised-bed garden, fill with good soil.

4. Vegetable gardens prefer full-sun exposure to grow and produce to the fullest.

5. Start your garden now so that you can plant a late crop of cucumbers, squash and/or bush beans. In September, begin planting cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, mustard, radishes and onions.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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