Need help in growing healthy veggies

Shawn Campbell shawnfromin at webtv.net
Wed Feb 9 21:15:09 EST 2000


   I agree with Craig on the soil conditions. Seeings how you have such
a small area it won't hurt to till in some compost, like grass clippings
and / or leaves. Just make sure that the material is well composted    (
decomposed ) because green material or material that is still
decomposing will rob the soil of nitrogen. Nitrogen is the main nutrient
used in the growth ( or vegetive )  cycle. The amount of nitrogen in the
soil dictates how healthy the plant is before it begins producing fruit
( or in your case,      vegetables ).
   A more expensive, but a more immediate route is to till in some peat
moss. I'd say for an area of that size you'll need 5 or 6  40# bags of
composted peat, or one bale of sphagnum peat. They are both composted
and sterilized so unwanted pests and weed seeds are minimized to your
pre-existing soil.
   If you want to get really fancy you can have your soil tested for
nutrient levels. There are some garden shops that offer the service for
free or for a small fee. It will give you a better idea what kind of
amendments you'll need.
   Fertilizer is a whole other monster! If you're starting from seed you
shouldn't fertilize until the second set of leaves appears on the
seedlings. The seed itself holds enough food for the seedling to get
started. Adding fertilizer before then can actually be detrimental. 
   A good garden fertilizer is Miracle Grow.
I recommend the water-soluble kind. You get more even coverage that way.
Along with the fertilizer get yourself a hand-held  4-in-1 sprayer.
Miracle Grow makes one that comes filled with fert. Soak your plants
once every couple of weeks to promote vigorous growth.
   As far as what plants to grow, well like Craig said, it really
depends on what kind of vegetables your kids like. Just don't plant your
tomatoes next to any strong tasting veggies like hot peppers unless you
like hot tomatoes. Tomatoes have a way of absorbing flavor from other
plants. However, they are fun to grow because they grow so fast. A six
inch seedling can sometimes be ready for harvest in a little   over two
months! Just be sure to water them! Keep the soil moist but not
drenched. 
   If you have any more questions please write me. I'll be glad to help!
                            Good Luck
                                        Shawn





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