So you’ve had a bountiful veggie season, and harvested your crops, and now that temperatures are beginning to drop, that’s it, right? Well, not quite. If you want to have a successful season next year, you can take a few extra steps now to treat your soil and ensure your plants will do just as well (or better) come spring.
Step 1: Clean Up
This step is so important! Before doing anything else, take a few moments to pull out weeds, brush, and other dead plant material. Some of this debris contains disease and insects which can cause problems in the spring, so you’ll want to remove them from the bed rather than just rake them in.
Step 2: Add Lime
Most veggies tend to like the soil a little “sweet” so you can sprinkle some garden lime on top of the soil now, so it has time to absorb into the ground and change the PH of the soil by the time spring arrives. Tip: If you’re planning on planting potatoes you can skip this step as they tend to like more acidic soil.
Step 3: Add Nutrients
If you think about how nutritious your veggies are, just remember that those nutrients come from the ground. You can help replace depleted nutrients by putting down Organic Garden-tone at the same time you apply the lime. This step will also help add in some microbial activity which further benefits the soil.
Step 4: Insect Control
To help keep unwanted insects at bay, you can apply an organic insect control like diatomaceous earth to keep your springtime veggies happy.
Step 5: Amend the Soil
To give your soil some additional love, we recommend top dressing your garden bed with compost like Soilution which contains lots of beneficial goodies including earthworm castings, mycorrhiza, biochar, lobster, kelp, and nutrients (everything but the kitchen sink).
Step 6: Plant a Cover Crop
There are a few reasons why you should consider planting a cover crop like Winter Rye. First, it quickly fills in the garden bed, which prevents weeds, but also acts as erosion control. Second, since Winter Rye is deep-rooted, it pulls nitrogen up to the top layers of soil through the roots which your veggies love. The deep root system also keeps the soil from becoming compact, which will make springtime planting easier. And finally, you can let it grow until about three weeks before you plant, and then, when you cut it back, you can till it directly into the garden bed to create green manure.
And that’s it! Following these simple steps now will ensure your garden will do even better next year!
We’re just a couple of days away from the official start of fall which has us looking forward to Autumn colors, decorating our front porches with pumpkins, cornstalks, and mums, and all of the fun fairs and activities that the new season has to offer.
With everything going on, it can be easy to forget about your garden, but good news! We have an updated, easy fall checklist you can reference throughout the season to make sure your yard is in its best shape before winter hits.
Be sure to stop by Van Wilgen’s for all the plants and supplies you need. We’re here to help!
Spring is here! There’s no better time to get outside and get your hands in the dirt!
Now is the ideal time to plant some cool weather vegetables and herbs. Go time is when you can work the ground and the daytime temperature is approximately 40 degrees during the day.
Early spring cold hearty vegetables:
- All lettuce
- Swiss chard
- · Radish
Early spring cold hearty herbs:
- All mints
As spring slowly turns into summer it is now time to think about planting your summer vegetables.
While there’s no set time as to when to plant these, here are a few rules of thumb to follow:
- Do not plant until the last chance of frost has gone by, usually the last full moon in May.
- Soil temperature needs to be 65 to 70 degrees. There’s an old saying that if you did a hole and you can’t comfortably put your hand in that hole and leave it there without pulling it away because of the cold then you shouldn’t be planting your plants just yet.
- Early isn’t always better. Your plant doesn’t start growing faster just because you planted it early, it’s just the opposite.
Your plant will just sit there and not grow at all until the soil temperature warms up. And by chance, the plant gets hits with colder temps you can risk losing the plant altogether or at the very least cut your yield in half.
And I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to lose any of those delicious summer vegetables.
Don’t forget to feed your plants all summer long as they will be feeding you!
Nothing is healthier and more satisfying for your body than fresh-picked veggies from your own garden. Growing your own vegetables is not only healthy for your body but great therapy for your mind. I don’t know about you, but every time I harvest a fresh vegetable that I grew myself, I feel mentally and physically great!
Here are 5 tips that you may not know to get the most out of your summer vegetable garden:
You only need these vegetables for one season, so fertilize & push the heck out of them. What have you got to lose? Fertilize every two weeks with granular, slow-release food, such as Espoma’s Garden Tone but don’t stop there! Use Van Wilgen’s Organic Fish & Seaweed every two weeks too! Fish & Seaweed fertilizer used on your veggies in the hot summer is the best. They drink it up without burning AND it makes your veggies taste better!
Add a little Garden Lime to tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and squash. All of these veggies are prone to Blossom End Rot due to a lack of calcium. Lime gives them the added calcium they need to stop the rot! If it’s too late and your poor tomatoes are already showing signs of rot, use Bonide’s Rot Stop as your quick fix. It’ll work, I promise!
Keep soil as evenly damp as possible but don’t water overhead. Contrary to popular belief, your veggies do not like to have their foliage watered. Always water slowly and at the base of plants. Don’t let the soil dry out too much between waterings and no puddles! Overhead watering leads to many more disease problems, so keep it low.
4. DISEASE CONTROL:
Start spraying disease-prone plants before the disease actually shows up. Use organic Fungicides such as Copper by Bonide. Fungicides used weekly two to three weeks before the disease usually shows up could stop it altogether. By being proactive, you can stop Septoria Leaf Spot on tomatoes & Powdery Mildew on cucumbers and squash before it even starts. This means less spraying in the long run and much healthier veggies all summer.
5. INSECT CONTROL:
If you’re looking to go organic, there are many choices, but one organic product may not kill them all. To get all types of veggie garden bugs, you have to sometimes mix it up or be sure to pick the best active ingredient. Neem oil is best for sucking types of insects such as aphids and leafhoppers. Pyrethrins are best on leaf chewing beetles. Insecticidal Soap kills Plant Bugs such as Squash Bugs. Spinosad, such as Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew, is best at controlling leaf-eating caterpillars. When in doubt, just pay us a visit and we’d be happy to recommend a product that will work best for your needs. You can’t go wrong!
Follow these steps now, and you’ll be enjoying delicious, fresh veggies in no time!
So your beautiful veggies are all planted or are just about to be. You’re feeling proud of your initial accomplishment, as you should be — but don’t get too comfortable! Your work isn’t done yet! Before you can sit back and enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor, I have a quick checklist of continued care for your newly planted vegetable garden.
VEGGIE GARDEN CONTINUED CARE:
- Water regularly. Do not allow Your garden to dry out completely. Keep the bed evenly damp daily.
- Water at the base of the plant, preferably in the morning to keep diseases down.
- If you have not already added Garden Lime to your newly planted tomatoes, it is time. A few tablespoons per plant will do.
- Side dress plants/rows with fertilizer regularly throughout the growing season. If using an organic fertilizer such as Garden-Tone, a few tablespoons per plant, every 2 weeks will keep your veggies happy. If using conventional fertilizer such as VanWilgens Slow Release, 1 time per month should do!
- To keep diseases at bay, spray vulnerable plants, such as squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes with an organic fungicide weekly. Start sprays now with Copper or Garden fungicide.
- Keep a bottle of all-natural insecticide on hand, such as End All. This way, you will be ready to stop bad bugs as soon as they appear.
- Put down a 2 to 3-inch layer of Mainely Mulch straw to keep weeds from taking over. Top it off with a sprinkle of Preen Vegetable Garden and weeds have no chance.
- Just as your beautiful tomatoes, strawberries, etc start to ripen, keep an eye out for furry friends who love them just as much as you do. Store a bottle of Go Away all-natural animal repellent in your shed. It can be sprayed right on the fruit to keep critters away.
A gardener’s work is never done but the end results of your continued care are well worth it. From your garden to your table, you will feel pride with every juicy tomato, crunchy cucumber, and sweet pea you pick.
planted in your vegetable garden or containers as early as mid-April. Our Van Wilgen Grown selection of cool crops includes favorites like broccoli cabbage and kale, arugula, and many other lettuces, as well as a few cold-tolerant herbs, like parsley, sage, lavender, rosemary, and the list goes on! As usual, all of our herbs and veggies are organically grown and potted in our biodegradable coco-fiber pots.