Now that the growing season is upon us, we all want the best we can get from our vegetable gardens. Here are some tips to help you get the most from your garden this season. Make time to work in your garden every day. Time spent working around your plants helps you catch small problems before they get out of control. Spotting insect or disease issues early makes them easier to deal with.Cultivate, don't weed. Carry a garden hoe with you when you make your daily rounds in the garden. Use your garden hoe to lightly scuff up the soil between rows and around plants. Weeds will never have the chance to get started.
Mulch. Apply a layer of mulch between rows and around plants. A 2” layer of mulch helps retain moisture and also keeps weeds down. Grow more crops vertically. Yields on vining crops such as tomatoes, pole beans and squash improve if you use sturdy trellis and cages to support your plants as they grow. Tumbling Tom tomatoes do really well in hanging baskets. Irrigate, don’t water. Plants grow better if you water at the roots and not overhead. Build a trench or a moat around your plants and fill with water. This will keep the water where your plants need it. Feed your crops the right fertilizer. When your plants start out they need Nitrogen, the first number on the bag. As vegetable plants grow and begin to produce blooms and fruit, they need Phosphate and Potassium, the middle and last number on the bag. Use succession planting. Succession planting allows you to grow and harvest more than one crop from the same space in the garden. Now that your spring-planted lettuce is done, plant some bush beans or other fast maturing crop in the same spot. When this crop is done in the fall, it'll be time to plant cool weather crops such as spinach, lettuce and kale. Staying in touch with your garden will help you make the most of your garden space and grow more vegetables.