Vegetable Gardens

Soil

Soil for the veggie garden should be well drained, nutrient rich and friable. Since our native soils on this part of the island are clay based, the addition of organic matter is beneficial. Composted products such as fish compost, soil amender or composted cow manure will improve soil quality. These should be incorporated into the top 6-10" of soil. Composted matter will enhance water-holding capacity and provide the nutrients required for plant growth. Yearly additions of compost will aid in plant health and vegetable productivity. Mulching your garden with straw or compost will help with water retention and weed suppression. Plant in raised beds, burms or hills.

Exposure

An ideal exposure will be south facing with at least 6 hours of sun per day. If possible place your garden so it is protected from potential cold winds.

Moisture

It is important to provide sufficient moisture till harvest. Soil should be kept moist, not wet. It may be necessary to water 2-3 times per day during hot and windy periods. Check moisture levels by digging into soil several inches. As previously stated mulches such as compost will aid in moisture retention and provide additional nutrients during the growing season.

Planting

Follow directions on seed packet for planting times, depth and spacing. Some seeds (carrots, radishes, lettuce) to name a few are quite small. It may be necessary to thin plants such as carrots and radishes to allow room for their root growth.

Succession planting may be possible depending on the vegetable type and climate conditions.

There are cool season crops and hot season crops. Hot season crops such as melon, tomatoes or peppers require a longer growing season and the heat of the summer sun. You can aid these hot season crops by growing them in a 'mini greenhouse' made with a plastic frame or using a 'row cover'.

Try to maintain a weeding program that will maximize your veggie production. Weeds compete by using water and nutrients that would otherwise be available to your crop.

Plant tall vegetables so they do not shade shorter types. Good planting distances allow for good air circulation and maximum sun exposure.

With a little planning you should have a very productive garden. Worst-case scenario you do not plant perfectly and you learn what not to do next year as well as what worked really well. Keep a journal and record your favorite seed types. Write down what worked well where and what should be moved around.