COMMENT TO WIN: For a chance to take home a copy of Gayla's new book "Grow Great Grub".For many of us the first hints of spring inspire thoughts of getting back into the garden.
Colourful arrays of seed packages can get our creative gardening juices flowing but often we're thinking flowers not vegetables.
Growing vegetables is a great way to save a little money and include some organic food in your diet - and talk about eating locally!
Veggie gardening can seem a little daunting at first, and you may feel that you don't have the right kind of space for creating a garden but author and gardener Gayla Trail
tells us how to successfully grow six common vegetables -- even if your garden plot is only a small sunny spot on a balcony or deck.
Watch the segment in episode 162
Do you have to have a large garden to grow veggies?
Absolutely not. The size of your space will only effect how much you can grow.
Anything can be grown in a pot although some plants are low yield and not worth it if bounty is what you're going for. I would not recommend winter squash or some melons for that reason.
However there are loads of edibles that do really well in a small space. Salad greens and some salad fixings are probably the best bet.So we plant these veggies in May and wait for them to come up - right?
No. There are lots of cool weather loving edibles that can be planted months before the traditional May 24 weekend planting date.SIX VEGETABLES
Early spring vegetables:
- Planting: Start outdoors as soon as soil can be worked.
- Spacing: Depends on how you want them to grow: For baby greens aka "cut and come again," plant seeds closely across the soil surface. For mature heads plant further apart.
- Soil: Well draining, rich. Need nitrogen for leafy growth.
- Light: Will tolerate part sun (4-6 hours direct sun)
- Watering: Keep consistently moist since leafy greens contain a lot of water.
Early Summer Vegetables:TOMATOES
- Planting: Plant seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost. Plant transplants outside 1-2 weeks after the last frost, Can also buy young plants in early summer from a garden centre.
- Spacing: One plant per container regardless of plant size.
- Soil: well draining, nutrient rich soil.
- Light: Full sun (6 hours direct light)
- Watering: Water deeply. Water the soil only.
- Staking: A tripod made of bamboo works well.
- Planting: Wait until soil has warmed to 60F, In pots: bush beans (minimum 12"), pole beans (minimum 16"). Coat seeds in Rhizobia bacteria inoculant at planting time to increase yield.
- Spacing: 2-4" apart.
- Soil: Well draining, nutrient rich soil. Add compost.
- Light: Full sun.
- Watering: Water lightly yet steadily early on, increasing when flowers appear. Too much at germination time will cause rot.
- Staking: Vines only.
- Planting: Minimum 12" pots for bell peppers. Hot peppers vary by variety.
If seeding indoors, plant seeds 6-8 weeks before the last frost.
- Spacing: About 12" apart. Only one plant per pot.
- Soil: Fertile, well draining soil without too much nitrogen.
- Light: Full sun.
- Watering: Consistent watering is best for containers but can handle short periods of drought, especially hot peppers. Good drainage is key.
- Staking: Only if they get heavy with fruit.
Late summer vegetables:BROCCOLI
- Planting: 12-16" deep container. One per pot or 2-3 in wide tote boxes.
Spring: Start indoor seeding 6-8 weeks before last frost. Put outside 2 weeks before the last frost.
Fall: Start a fall crop 12 weeks before the first frost date.
- Grows best when the temperature is cool and can handle a light frost.
- Spacing: One per pot or 15" apart in the ground.
- Soil: Well draining, nutrient rich soil with lots of nitrogen for leaves.
- Light: Prefer full sun but will tolerate partial/light sun.
- Watering: Do not like to dry out. Keep consistently moist.
"Gayla Trail is the creator of the acclaimed top gardening website yougrowgirl.com
. Her work as a writer and photographer has appeared in publications including the New York Times and Newsweek. A resident of Toronto who has grown a garden on her rooftop for more than ten years, she is the author of "You Grow Girl: The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening."
Read Gayla's new book "Grow Great Grub"www.growgreatgrub.com