Vegetable Garden Tour & Tips 4/16/18: Hot-House Tomato Cage,  Peas, Bean & Cucumber Trellising

Vegetable Garden Tour & Tips 4/16/18: Hot-House Tomato Cage, Peas, Bean & Cucumber Trellising

Vegetable garden layout ideas

We were able to walk around the 50 beds we have and talk about what we are growing, but also about how we incorporate our garden into all areas of our curriculum in our childcare.

There was much talk about squash bugs (the bain of our greenhouse presence at Little Sprouts). There was a great deal of enthusiasm for the assortment of plants we develop just as how we wound up with such a great amount of room to utilize.

At Little Sprouts we use plastic fruits and vegetables in a hide and seek game, play healthy food BINGO, have stuffed veggies to play with, play with veggie puzzles, identify seeds and types of seeds, plant seeds in clear bags so we can watch how the roots and stems develop underground, plant, tend and harvest foods we grow and take then inside and prepare and eat them. The garden teaches so much. We count, sort, measure, identify shapes, colors, tastes, smells, sounds, and so much more. After we talked and explored, we got a group photo and headed out to our next stop, the local Farmer’s Market. The market was nice and busy and had lots of goodies to take home.

How to plant asparagus crowns in raised beds Gardening

How to plant asparagus crowns in raised beds Gardening

Plant asparagus crowns in raised beds Gardening
How To do it :

asparagus crowns
  • Choose a sunny part of the garden with good drainage.
  • Dig a trench and check the pH, which should be 6.5 to 7.5.
  • Plant the crowns about 8 in. deep and 15 in. apart.
  • Cover initially with 2 in. of dirt, and gradually fill the trench as the spears emerge.
  • The edible stems of asparagus rise directly from the ground. Spears that are about 8 in. tall are ready to harvest.
  • Snapping of the spear by hand is easy and protects the plant. You can use a knife, but be careful not to damage developing stems.
  • At the end of the harvest, allow the asparagus plants to form ferns. These help transfer energy to the roots for good spear development the next season.

Asparagus is a perennial vegetable plant that can be a long-lasting, permanent addition to a home garden. This vegetable requires well-draining soil to thrive, as waterlogged soil causes root rot. Growing asparagus in raised beds offers them proper drainage and an easier planting bed that doesn’t require deep tilling.

Preparing a Raised Bed

Prepare the raised bed before the last frost of the season ends. Though asparagus can tolerate some light shade, it’s best to locate the raised bed in an area that gets six to eight hours of sunlight each day. Raise the bed to at least 12 inches in height to accommodate drainage and growth.

Use a good-quality topsoil that is blended with compost or other organic matter such as manure or peat moss. Laying black plastic over the entire raised bed helps to retain heat within the soil for an early spring planting.

Remove the black plastic when there’s no more danger of frost and dig trenches six inches deep and five feet apart with a garden trowel. In each trench, sprinkle one pound of triple superphosphate (0-46-0) for every 50 feet of soil.

Planting Asparagus

Purchase 1-year-old asparagus crowns. For the best harvest, ensure the asparagus crowns are healthy and male. Female asparagus use too much energy on producing seeds, leaving a less-than-desirable crop production. To tell the difference, look at the seeds and size of each plant. The female asparagus plant bears berry-like seeds, while the male produces thicker spears and larger flowers. Soak the asparagus crowns in a bucket filled with warm water for one hour before planting.

Plant the asparagus crowns into the trenches, about 12 inches apart, and cover with dirt. Water the plantings until the soil is moist, taking care not to saturate. Continue to water the crop once or twice per week to keep the soil moist.

Spread two to three inches of peat moss throughout the asparagus bed when the tips begin to emerge from the soil, usually in one to two weeks. This will help the soil to retain more moisture and will act as a weed barrier within the raised bed.

Keep the asparagus bed free of weeds, pulling them out regularly by hand. A weedy bed means both weeds and vegetables are competing for the same nutrients and water and can cause a weak crop for future growing seasons.

Harvesting Asparagus

Leave the asparagus crowns to grow tall and ferny their first growing season within the raised bed. This first season will provide the asparagus crowns the energy they need to grow a more productive harvest in the years to come.

Harvest a few asparagus spears when the plants are in their second growing season and reach heights of seven to nine inches tall. Cut the spears off the plant at soil level with a sharp knife. Leave half of the asparagus spears on the plant to provide energy for the third season’s crop.


5 Tips for Growing Tomatoes in Containers – Garden Tips

5 Tips for Growing Tomatoes in Containers – Garden Tips

Growing tomatoes in pots levels the home garden playing field, bringing a crop of homegrown maters within reach for almost anyone, regardless of real estate. That’s because you can grow tomatoes in pots just about anywhere you have a sunny spot, whether it’s on a deck, driveway, balcony, rooftop, fire escape, or somewhere else.

Craving garden fresh tomatoes, but don’t have space for a garden? Consider growing your tomatoes in containers!

You may have heard that getting a good crop off your container grown tomatoes can be difficult. Sometimes the plants won’t produce many tomatoes, and the ones you do get can be watery and lack flavor.

If you’ve ever experienced these problems, then you are not alone! Tomatoes can be one of the more challenging plants to grow in containers, but here are a few tips that will increase your yield and allow you to enjoy your own delicious homegrown tomatoes this year.

Before we dive in, I want to mention two very important things.

First, whether you grow tomatoes in containers or in the garden, make sure you pick a good location where they will get at least 6 hours of sun per day. Tomatoes placed in too much shade will not produce well.

Second, don’t plant your tomatoes too early. If it’s too cold when you put them out in the garden, they’ll really struggle to get going and will be slower to produce tomatoes. Get your timing right with this customized planting guide.

Okay, on to the tips!

TIP 1: GET AN APPROPRIATELY SIZED CONTAINER.

A container that is too small will cause stunted root growth and lead to fewer tomatoes. Be aware that many of the popular tomatoes sold at gardener centers are indeterminate plants.

Indeterminate tomatoes will continue to grow larger and longer until they don’t have adequate growing conditions. In an ideal location, they can be 6 to 8 or more feet tall. So this type of tomato plant needs plenty of space for root growth.

Keep your indeterminate tomatoes happy with at least a 20-gallon pot. But smaller varieties, like determinate and dwarf tomato plants, will be okay in smaller pots.

The type of tomato plant is not always listed on the plant label, so do your research about tomato varieties before you go shopping.

Pick your variety wisely with your space in mind. You’ll have more options if you grow your own tomatoes from seed, but you can grow any purchased tomato plant in containers with these tips.

TIP 2: USE GOOD QUALITY POTTING SOIL AND/OR COMPOST.

Make sure you give your tomato plants a healthy start by providing them with good soil. Both potting soil and compost are available for purchase at gardening centers and home improvement stores.

Whatever you do, don’t use soil from your yard or garden area in containers.

Garden soil is full of debris and material that you don’t want to put in your container garden. Soil from your yard will probably not have adequate drainage for use in containers. And there’s a very high risk of bringing disease pathogens, weed seeds, and even caterpillar pupae into your container.

Since the container is by definition limited in space, you don’t want your tomato to have any competition for space or nutrients. Tomatoes can be plagued by all sorts of pests and disease, so don’t make things harder on yourself by inviting them in from the get-go.