Vegetable Gardening 101

1. Grow only those vegetables you enjoy eating. Give priority to those prized for incredible flavor when eaten fresh from the garden: sweet corn, beans and peas, tomatoes and young spinach, among others.

2. Prepare a plot of flat ground that gets full sun nearly all day. Break up and turn the soil and add compost or other organic material (See How to Buy Soil Amendments). A full day of blazing sunshine is especially important if you grow vegetables in the cool weather of early spring, early fall or winter.

3. Figure out how much growing space you have and plant accordingly. Lettuce, for example, can be grown in a solid mat, but tomatoes need to be spaced about 2 feet (60 cm) apart. Give pumpkins at least 4 feet (120 cm) of growing room. Growing requirements are provided on seed packets, in catalogs, and on nursery tags, as well as in books on growing vegetables.

4. Choose crops that require less room if you have a small garden or grow vegetables in a container. Lettuce is a great pot plant, and 'Patio' or 'Tumbler' tomatoes will grow well in a hanging basket. Plants that climb and vine, such as cucumbers and pole beans, can be trained up a trellis to take up less room horizontally. Tuck herbs and parsley into flower beds.

5. Schedule plantings around the two main growing seasons which vary by region: cool (spring and fall) and warm (summer). Common cool-season vegetables include beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, lettuce, peas, potatoes, radishes, spinach and turnips. Warm-season crops include beans, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, melons, peppers, pumpkins, squash and tomatoes.

6. Sow some seeds directly in the ground as they grow best that way: beans, beets, carrots, chard, corn, lettuce, melons, peas, pumpkins, squash and turnips. Starting seeds is, of course, much less expensive than planting seedlings sold in flats, packs and pots.

7. Start with nursery seedlings of certain other crops unless you are an experienced vegetable grower. These plants tend to do better when set out in the garden as seedlings: eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. Squash and cucumbers are among a few you can plant just as effectively as either seeds or seedlings.

8. Buy seeds at nurseries or by mail order starting just after the New Year, when the selection is freshest. Look for seed packets marked as having been packed for the current year.

9. Buy vegetables online and from mail-order companies for a far greater selection than you'll find at neighborhood nurseries. Burpee (burpee.com), Johnny's Selected Seeds (johnnyseeds .com), Park Seed Company (parkseed.com) and Thompson and Morgan (thompson-morgan.com) are a few long-established sources.

10. Shop for seedlings when your soil is prepared and you are ready to plant. Keep them moist and don't let them sit around for more than three days before planting. Buy healthy and vigorous seedlings. They should stand up straight & be stocky, not lanky, with no yellow leaves or bug holes.

11. Save money and get truly involved with your garden by starting seeds indoors in winter and transplanting them into the garden in spring. It's simplest to start with complete kits, sold at garden centers and through catalogs, containing fluorescent lights, soil mix, containers and watering devices.

12. Sow seeds of colorful radishes or giant sunflowers to introduce children to the satisfaction and fun of growing their own food. Or lean 3 stakes together, tie them together at the top, and train pole beans up the stakes. Voila`! A bean teepee.

Avoiding Weeds In Your Vegetable Garden
No one likes to weed a garden. Fortunately, there are several things that can help prevent weeds in the first place, so you won't have to deal with them once the garden is planted (or at least, not nearly as many of them).
1. Before you plant, clear the ground and put some extra time into clearing the soil of any perennial weeds. Make sure you get as much of the root as possible - not just the part that's visible - so the weeds won’t grow back.

2. Don't disturb the soil during routine care. Cultivating the soil in your garden can bring weed seeds up to the surface where they can sprout. Try to keep the soil disturbance to a minimum when maintaining your garden throughout the growing season.

3. Crop rotation. Some crops are more capable of fighting weeds than others. For example, potatoes can crowd out the weeds a lot more easily than onions. By rotating your crops around your garden from one year to the next, it's less likely that weeds will build up in one part of it.

4. Mulch. Cover bare soil with mulch to keep weeds from getting the light they need to grow. This can be organic mulch, such as rotted compost, or inorganic mulch such as landscape cloth. Organic mulch is easier to spread between the vegetables you have planted. It should be one to three inches deep to suppress weeds.

Growing Vegetables In Small Spaces or Container
While a huge garden with almost limitless space is a dream for most gardeners, the reality is we usually only have a fraction of what we would like. Some of us might even be limited to a few small planters on a porch or balcony. Don't let that discourage you though. It just means you need to plan a little differently.

You'll want to grow vegetables that are high yielding. For example, a single zucchini planted in a container could produce a dozen or more fruit over the course of the summer, where the same container planted with spinach might only produce enough for a single serving (or less).

Vegetables that thrive when planted in containers include: tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, carrots, chard, lettuce, beans, peas, and cucumbers.

How To Have A Constant Supply Of Vegetables
Have you ever found yourself with way too much of a vegetable when the time comes that it's ready to harvest? The problem is the way most people plant their garden - a row of one vegetable, another row of a second one and so on.

The more effective way to plant that will give you a steady supply of vegetables over a longer season is called succession planting. Basically, instead of a single row of each vegetable split a single row into multiple vegetables. So one row might have 3 or 4 sections, each with its own seeds planted.

Then two weeks later, plant the same group in the second row. Two weeks later, do it again in the third row.
This way, each row will be ready to harvest two weeks after the previous one, giving you a fresh supply for longer, and keeping you from having to find ways to get rid of all the extras.

Garden Planning 101
The size of your garden will depend on several things:
* How many mouths you're feeding
* How much time you have to spend in it
* How enthusiastic you are about gardening

Keep in mind that you shouldn't be too ambitious, especially if you're new to vegetable gardening. A garden that's too big quickly become a chore rather than a fun hobby.

Unless your yard requires it, it's best to avoid flowing, unusual shapes. Stick with squares or rectangle as they allow for more efficient use of space. Plus, they tend to make it easier to reach everything in the garden for maintenance and harvesting once your vegetables get larger.

When you're planning your vegetable garden, one of the things to consider is what's on the ground where you want to plant? If it's bare soil, you're halfway there, but it's more likely lawn if you haven't planted a garden before. If you need to get rid of grass for your garden, it's not a difficult thing to do, just use a sharp spade to undercut the sod and remove it.

Trees or shrubs are another story - they can be a lot more difficult to relocate or even to simply remove if you no longer want them. The roots can be far-reaching as well and may interfere with your garden when it comes time to start digging.

When you're planning the location for your garden, think about how much time and effort you want to put in. If your ideal spot is going to take too much time or work, you might want to think about an alternative.

Preparing the soil
Fertile, well drained soil is necessary for a successful garden. The exact type of soil is not so important as that it be well drained, well supplied with organic matter, reasonably free of stones, and moisture retentive. The subsoil also is very important. Hard shale, rock ledges, gravel beds, deep sand, or hardpan under the surface may make the development of garden soil extremely difficult or impossible. On the other hand, infertile soil that has good physical properties can be made productive by using organic matter, lime, commercial fertilizer, and other soil improving materials.

If your garden has already been cultivated and used in past years, there is little to do other than to plow in additional organic material, and fertilizers. The fertilizer may be in the form of composted manure or any good commercial complete plant food distributed at a rate of 3 or 4 pounds for every thousand square feet of vegetable garden. Infertile soil will often benefit from even larger proportions of chemical fertilization, but care must be taken not to add too much because of the danger of fertilizer burn. When manure is added to the soil, it must be composted prior to planting, because fresh, hot manure will also burn your plants.

As Your Garden Grows:
During dry periods, vegetable gardens need extra watering. Most vegetables benefit from an inch or more water each week, especially when they are fruiting.
If possible, use a drip hose or drip system for watering. With a drip system, you don’t loose any water to evaporation. It also encourages less rot or blight on tomatoes and other vegetables.

Mulching between the rows will help to control weeds, conserve moisture in the soil, and provide you with pathways to access your plants. Black plastic may be used, or you can utilize grass clippings, straw, wood chips, or garden debris.

Throughout the growing season be vigilante against insect pests. Discovering a bug problem early will make it much easier to take appropriate action and eliminate the pests. Do not use pesticides once the plants have fruited unless it becomes an absolute necessity, and be sure to follow the manufacturers recommendations.

Weeds rob your vegetables of water, light and root space. Keep them pulled out regularly (try to get the entire root) and the job isn't too bad. If they are allowed to go to seed, you may be dealing with thousands of weeds instead of a few. Once you have harvested your crop, put the spent plant and other vegetable matter into your compost pile so that it can be recycled into your garden again, next spring.

The KSL Greenhouse with Tim Hughes and Larry Sagers
airs each Saturday morning from 8 am - 11 am.

Check KSL Classifieds and Craigslist for plant exchanges or giveaways.

http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/utgard/ (Utah info)
www.parkseed.com or www.burpee.com

How To Square Foot Garden

It's easy to get started with your own square foot garden at home. As easy as 1, 2, 3 and you'll be harvesting in no time!

1. Pick the location. Location Matters!

* Pick an area that gets 6-8 hours of sunshine daily.
* Stay clear of trees and shrubs where roots and shade may interfere.
* Have it close to the house for convenience.
* Existing soil is not really important, since you won't be using it.
* Area should not puddle after a heavy rain.

2. Follow The Ten Basics

1. LAYOUT - Arrange your garden in squares, not rows. Lay it out in 4'x4' planting areas.
2. BOXES - Build boxes to hold a new soil mix above ground.
3. AISLES - Space boxes 3' apart to form walking aisles.
4. SOIL - Fill boxes with special soil mix: 1/3 blended compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite.
5. GRID - Make a permanent square foot grid for the top of each box. A MUST!
6. CARE - NEVER WALK ON YOUR GROWING SOIL. Tend your garden from the aisles.
7. SELECT - Plant a different flower, vegetable, or herb crop in each square foot, using 1, 4, 9, or 16 plants per square foot.
8. PLANT - Conserve seeds. Plant only a pinch (2 or 3 seeds) per hole. Place transplants in a slight saucer-shaped depression.
9. WATER - Water by hand from a bucket of sun-warmed water.
10. HARVEST - When you finish harvesting a square foot, add compost and replant it with a new and different crop.


LAYOUT: Always think in squares: lay out 4 foot by 4 foot planting areas with wide walkways between them.

BOXES: 4x4 Foot Garden -- Build garden box frames no wider than 4 feet, and 6 to 8 inches deep. The length is not as important, but a recommended size for your first time is one frame 4 foot by 4 foot. You can, of course, go smaller. A 2 foot by 2 foot works great on patios and 3 foot by 3 foot box is ideal for kids. Frames can be made from almost any material except treated wood, which has toxic chemicals that might leach into the soil. 1 by 6 or 2 by 6 lumber is ideal, and comes in 8-foot lengths. Most lumber yards will cut it in half at little or no cost. Exact dimensions are not critical. Deck screws work best to fasten the boards together. Rotate or alternate corners to end up with a square inside.

AISLES: If you plan to have more than one garden box, separate them by 2 or 3 feet to form walkways.

SOIL: Fill frame with a mixture of 1/3 compost, 1/3 peat moss, and 1/3 coarse vermiculite (no dirt needed). A blended compost made from many ingredients provides all the nutrients the plants require (no chemical fertilizers needed). Peat moss and vermiculite help hold moisture and keep the soil loose. It's best to make your own compost from many ingredients but if you have to buy it, make sure it is truly compost. Some stores sell mulch or humus and other ground covers but call it compost. Most commercial compost is made from one or two ingredients so to be safe, don't buy all of one kind but one of each kind until you have enough for your garden. It's really best to make your own compost, then you know what goes in it. When buying vermiculite, be sure to get the coarse grade, and get the more economical 4 cubic foot size bags. If placing frames over grass you can dig out the grass or cover it with cardboard or landscape cloth to discourage grass and weeds from coming up through your new garden soil.

GRID: On top of each frame place a permanent grid that divides the box into one foot squares. The grid is the unique feature that makes the whole system work so well. To show you why the grid is so important, do this little demonstration: Look at your 4 foot by 4 foot box with the grid on and imagine up to 16 different crops. What you see before you is a neat and attractive, well organized garden, that will be easy to manage. Now remove the grid. Could you organize and manage this space without dividing it up into squares? Besides, without the grid you will be tempted to plant in rows, which is a poor use of space. Grids can be made from nearly any material; wood, plastic strips, old venetian blinds, etc. Use screws or rivets to attach them where they cross. On a 4 foot by 4 foot frame, the grid divides the frame into 16 easy-to-manage spaces, for up to 16 different crops. Leave the grid in place all season. The grid can be cut long enough to fit across the top of the box or cut shorter to lay on the soil inside the box.

CARE: Since you will NEVER walk on or depress the growing soil, don't make the frames any wider than 4 feet (2 feet, if only one side is accessible). Any wider makes it too difficult to reach in to tend the plants.

SELECT: Depending on the mature size of the plant, grow 1, 4, 9, or 16 equally spaced plants per square foot. If the seed packet recommends plant spacing be 12 inches apart, plant one plant per square foot. If 6 inch spacing; 4 per square foot. If 4 inch spacing; 9 per square foot. If 3 inch spacing; 16 per square foot.

PLANT: Plant one or two seeds in each spot by making a shallow hole with your finger. Cover, but do not pack the soil. Thinning is all but eliminated. Seeds are not wasted. Extra seeds can be stored cool and dry in your refrigerator. Don't over-plant. Plant only as much of any one crop as you will use. This 4 foot by 4 foot box will grow more than a conventional garden that is 8 foot by 10 foot.

WATER: Water only as much as each plant needs. Water often, especially at first, and on very hot dry days, If possible, water by hand ( uses a lot less water ) with a cup from a sun-warmed bucket of water. Warm water helps the soil warm up in early and late season.

HARVEST: Harvest continually and when a crop in one square is gone, add some new compost and plant a new different crop in that square.

Tips from the experts:

Diane and Dare Allen:
If you want a successful garden, put most of your effort into creating excellent soil.
Best way to water your garden is with a drip system.
Favorite nursery: Willard Bay Nursery - 7095 S Highway 89, Willard, UT 84340 www.willardbaygardens.com/
If you expect to loose 20% of your crops every year and you’ll be happy with your garden

Marion Searle:
The KSL program “Greenhouse” with Tim Hughes and Larry Sagers that airs each Saturday morning from 8am to 11am is a wonderful way to learn about gardening.
Another great source of information is Larry Sagers. www.larrysagers.com

Mini Hicks:
Grow what you know your family will eat
Figure out what grows well in your yard. Mini can’t grow beet in her yard but her daughter-in-law, Karen, can.
Trial and error is inevitable. That is how you learn what grows best in your garden
Mini plants her peas mid-March, no matter what the weather. She just pokes the ground with a pencil and plants the seeds.
Share the bounty!

Heidi Bethers:
Heidi likes raised box beds that are long and thin. This way you can access all plants without having to step into the bed. SHe has included a list of her favorite gardening websites at the end of this email.

Joyce and Julie Miller:
Don't grow tomatoes on a hill.
Don't grow pumpkins next to squash or zucchini. You won't get any zucchini and the pumpkins will be small.

Favorite Nurseries:
Tri-City Nursery in Kaysville.
Cook's Greenhouse Nursery in Orem.
If you like seeds, you really need to see Granite Seed Company's website. They're in Lehi.
Wasatch Shadows in Sandy.
Linden Nursery in Lindon .
Alpine Gardens in Brigham (Perry actually)
Willard Bay Gardens is the best place in the state for perennials. It’s in Box Elder County.
Millcreek Gardens on 9th at about 35th south.
J & J Nursery in Layton (Best tomato plants!)
High Country Gardens. They have a good selection of plants that are water-wise.
There is a lady in Brigham (Edna Secrist) that has the very cheapest prices for a somewhat limited selection of perennials. She sells out of her yard. Price is $3 for well established gallon plants. Some are as high as $4. She propagates her own and they have all gone through one Utah winter. Drive east on 600 south in Brigham. Her home is on the south side of the street several blocks up. After mid-April when she gets the pots out of her greenhouse you can't miss it.
Empire Gardens (Wholesale & retail, easiest way to find it is to head north on 700 East and around 3600 South look for a tiny street marked "Empire" on your right.) Bring a checkbook & look for Ruth. Knock on the door if you can't find anyone. Great for gallon pots of drought resistant perennials, shrubs, trees. Family relationship with Millcreek Gardens.
Cactus & Tropicals (corner of 2000 E & 2700 S)
Farmers Market (8am Saturday at Pioneer Park) Consider the lilies near Borski Farms & Caputo's on north side of market, heading east. Empire Gardens has a sampling of plants further west on that north side walkway.
Vineyard Nursery just west of Orem off Geneva Road. Not fancy but their prices are about 25% less than everywhere and it feels really homey

Helpful Gardening Websites

Gardening online is one of the best tools a gardener has. We now have access to current research, new plant introductions and wonderful photographs to help us identify all kinds of disgusting plant pests and disease problems. Here are some sites that are truly helpful:

1. The Plants Database at Dave's Garden.com
Dave's site is a gardener friendly destination. The plant database is billed as the largest in the world, "...with 86,188 entries, 58,365 images and 33,503 comments." You can search by name or plant characteristics or just browse through the pictures. Searches are limited if you are not a registered member, but membership is free. davesgarden.com

2. Fine Gardening Magazine's Guide to Pronouncing Botanical Latin
Now this is fun. If you've ever wondered how to pronounce some of those tongue twisters, like maybe agastache foeniculum, you can hear it here. Fine Gardening always includes a phonetic list of the plants mentioned in their magazine, but nothing beats hearing it pronounced. taunton.com

3. Cyndi's Catalog of Garden Catalogs
Contacts and critiques of more than 2,000 catalogs from around the world. Is there a better service that could be provided to an avid gardener? gardenlist.com

4. Cooperative Extension Systems
Every state has a Cooperative Extension System. Regional offices offer location specific advice on a broad array of topics, including gardening. Most have gardening hotlines and offer informational fact sheets, soil testing and pest identification for free or a nominal cost. Often the help is provided by Master Gardeners who are trained to assist the agriculture agents with home gardener's needs. You might even want to check out the requirements for becoming a Master Gardener yourself. extension.usu.edu - or pick another state (VA has a great site)

5. Insect Identification Laboratory, Dept. of Entomology, VA Tech
You may have to do some digging around , but this content rich site provides excellent insect images, including household pests and those that attack ornamentals and edibles. It also goes into control measures and pesticide info. Much of the information is broken down by type of problem, such as Insects that feed on leaves or bore into wood. everest.ento.vt.edu

6. Vegetable MD Online
There is nothing like a picture when you are trying to identify what's wrong with your plants. Unlike ornamentals that all seem to share the same fungal disease problems, vegetables can exhibit an abundance of symptoms. That's why Cornell's Vegetable MD Online is so popular. There's a photo gallery for identifying the problem, fact sheets for solving it and IPM links to keep it from happening again. vegetablemdonline.ppath.cornell.edu/Home.htm

7. Extoxnet - Pesticide Information Profiles
Extoxnet (EXtension TOXicology NETwork) is the joint venture of a handful of land-grant universities across the U.S. They provide Pesticide Information Profiles (PIPs) which give specific information on a pesticide's health and environmental effects. Be sure to follow label instructions when using any pesticide. extoxnet.orst.edu

8. The U.S. National Arboretum - Invasive Plants
Whether its' kudzu, garlic mustard or purple loosetrife, the best way to deal with an invasive plant is to keep it out of your garden. Here the experts give you tips on dealing with enthusiastic unwelcome garden guests. There are links to each state's Invasive Plant Council, with lists and photos of plants to be on the lookout for. usna.usda.gov/Gardens/invasives.html

9. Cornell University Poisonous Plants Informational Database
A lot of misinformation about which plants are poisonous has found its way into "common knowledge". Here you can search for information on particular plants, like your Christmas Poinsettia, or find out what plants to avoid to keep you, your kids, your pets and even your livestock safe. ansci.cornell.edu/plants/

10. About.com Gardening Forum
What is so great about this forum is how knowledgeable the participants are and the wide geographic distribution of their experience. If you're the type who likes to chat with other gardeners (and you're constantly censored by other forums for it) you'll also find some good conversation here.

Reprinted from About.com’s website

Try also:

bbc.co.uk/gardening/ -- has a great online gardening diary and other great tips and garden ideas, plant lists and pest lists

larrysagers.com -- local gardening radio host with lots of local gardening information. Check out the Gardening Articles section for great advice on many topics.
Also go to KSL.com Follow links to radio, Saturday lineup, and greenhouse show for more local gardening tips.

HAPPY SURFING! Call Heidi Bethers 801-273-0030 if you have a favorite site to recommend.