Saturday, March 28, 2009

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie

Pots with annuals including parsley

…yellow polka dot garden scenie. Yes, I know that’s really bad prose to introduce planting a vegetable/herb garden among your perennials and other landscaping.

Many folks are new to vegetable gardening or don’t have the space, energy, or time for a big plot. That doesn’t mean you can’t have home grown fresh vegetables and herbs.

Many vegetables and herbs blend well with existing plants. Using dwarfs and bush varieties, adding a trellis, and pulling them when they’ve finished producing help this process. A reminder: Vegetables and herbs usually need full sun.

Leafy vegetables and herbs, as edging to existing beds, look good and are easy to harvest. Check out the height at maturity when picking a variety. A few suggestions: lettuce, kale, Swiss chard, arugula, mizuna, spinach, mustard, parsley, & rosemary.

Because of height, plant a little farther back: bush tomatoes, collards, basil, dill, peppers, brussel sprouts, horseradish & broccoli.

Climbers needing a trellis or sturdy bush: green beans, peas, small gourds & cucumbers.

Most nurseries offer plant sets in packs of one to six. Plant sets have a jump on the growing season. I’ve found locally many varieties of tomatoes, lettuce, herbs, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cucumbers, & peppers.

Seeds are often difficult to start when direct planted into an established bed because of lack of digging space, depth of mulch and lack of sun on the soil.

Planting in pots & hanging planters is another opportunity if you only have a “Speedo” sized space or only desire a few vegetable and herb plants.

Choose only species that require the same environmental needs as the existing plants. Planting tomatoes next to cactus insures one of them won’t thrive.

An advantage of “spot” vegetable/herb gardening is you can walk out the door and inspect, nourish, and harvest easily.

Whether you snuggle many varieties and species among your itsy bitsy teenie weenie landscaping space or start with just one bush tomato plant, it will enhance your summer eating experience.

Note: The deadline for ordering from The Henry County Soil & Water Conservation District’s “2009 Spring Tree Sale” is March 30, 2009. Contact 309-937-5263 (Ext 3) for information, restrictions and an order form.

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