Vegetable Gardening Tips

Vegetable gardening tips

Vegetable gardening tips from Guzman’s Garden Centers.

vegetable gardening tips
Starting with Seeds

Depending on the type of vegetable seeds you have they all need different times of dormancy lengths. Most perennial seeds will, of course, germinate the following spring seasons.

What do seeds need in order for them to germinate? They need air, moisture, good soil, and the right temperatures. When the seeds assimilate or absorb water and food surrounding the inside of the seed they will convert this from starch to sugar. This is when the embryo (seed shell) will start to grow.

Eventually, it will burst out of its hard shell. You will now have a vegetable seedling. Your seed plantings will now begin to take food and water from you or your watering system. This is also the time when you will need to do your best to increase the chances of growing these seeds into a vegetable, fruit, pepper for healthy edible food. Where and How to plant your garden vegetables

Vegetable gardening tips

Here are some tips on preparing your ground for a vegetable garden. It does not matter if you start with seeds or small plants the process is basically the same. Choose a good location.

Preferably a west location as this side will have plenty of sunshine.  However, the Southwestern sun can be brutal during the mid-summer months. It can burn the skin of most vegetables. You might want to provide your plants with some type of shade cloth during June, July, August and sometimes September.  You could plant them in morning sun and afternoon shade.

Test your soil for Ph. Most gardening stores will have inexpensive soil testers…use them, they work. Be sure to test numerous areas where you plan to place your vegetable garden.

Readings less than 7.0 indicate acidy soil, while higher readings indicate high alkaline. The dry Southwest will usually have high alkaline soil.  Soil that is acidified will help correct alkaline soils. Lime will help correct high acidic dirt.

Chili PlantsVegetables and Chili plants

They love the long southwestern sunshine which is ideal for a productive and abundant crop. Again, be careful with the midsummer sun in the Southwest this means late June, July, and August.

Rototill the land or at least dig up the soil with a shovel to loosen the dirt/soil. Be sure to test your soil before continuing.

Clear the spot or location of any large rocks, grass, or weeds that may be in the area. Chili peppers and vegetables do NOT like cooler temperatures. Plant them when temperatures are consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit during the night. For those who like hot chili plants, let them dry out slightly throughout the season before watering again. This will produce a hotter chili pod.

Consider growing vegetables and chile seeds that are suitable for your area. Call your local Nursery for information on what will grow well in your area.

Many nurseries have vegetables and chile already planted as seedlings. These types of plants will do better for the novice gardener since they are already set to plant and grow! Going organic is a good way to grow natural chemical-free vegetables.

Fertilizing and watering vegetable plants

Remember it’s YOUR garden decide if you want vegetable seeds or grown container plants? No matter what you decide water is essential to your vegetable garden.  Use a good Drip System or water by hose or watering can on a daily basis especially in the desert southwest. About 1.5″ of water per week should do.

What Fertilizers to use

Fox Farm ProductsA good fertilizer will have the following nutrients: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) are the three nutrients of concern to most gardeners. Calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) are also needed. A good fertilizer will have a 5-10-5 mixture.

Apply about 2 tablespoons per 50 sq ft. Organic vegetables are now the rage of many gardeners find out more here… Best Organic Products.  What kind of soil do vegetables need?

A good combination of compost, potting mix, and or topsoil works very well. You can always amend the soil with nutrients at a later date.  Vegetables like acidic PH levels in the soil.  If you tested your soil a reading of about 6.5 is good for tomatoes, peppers, and squash.

Weeds will suck up all the nutrients from the soil. So remember to pull out all weeds whenever possible. Do NOT over water or have standing water over a long period of time. Overwatering is just as bad as little or no water! Blossom end rot is where the tomatoes will look brown or black usually at the bottom.

Kelp meal, fish emulsion, worm castings, and Happy frog vegetable fertilizer will do wonders to any vegetable garden and they are organic products.

Vegetable Diseases and Insects

Blossom end rot of tomato - Calcium deficiency - plant disorderBlossom end rot

This is caused by a lack of calcium in your soil. Most nurseries will have calcium products for your tomatoes.

Try to buy tomatoes and chili that are resistant to “VFN”. What is “VFN”? : V=Verticillium F=Fusarium, and N=nematodes. These are fungi that cause plants to wilt. Once you get this fungus you will not be able to remove it. Here are some preventive measures to take.

Do not plant them too close together. Give them space to grow. Do not plant them in too much shade…fungi spores thrive in cool shady conditions during the warmer months.

Keep vegetable plants away from other ornamental plants such as roses, large trees or evergreens. Do Not Over-water…too much water or standing water will produce root rot.  It is almost impossible to over-water if you have good drainage.

Aphids and Leafminers on Tomato plants

Aphids and leafminers love the foliage of all vegetable plants.  They suck out the juice from the stem and foliage.  Do not any type of systemic insecticide as the plant will take this chemical thus making it unedible.

Observe your plants daily and at the first sign of insects spray with a good vegetable insect spray.  Ask for this product at your local nursery.  Neel oil is a good alternative to chemical sprays.  Insecticidal soap is another good organic spray.

Blossom end rot
Vegetables in containers indoors.

Consider using containers for your vegetables – You can easily move them from sunny to partial shade positions. Leaf-hoppers will sometimes carry the tomato curly leaf virus – Spray an insecticide at the first sign of them.  Learn more here about container gardening. 

Vegetable gardening tips by Paul Guzman all rights reserved.

Find out more here… Organic Products.

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