Planting and maintaining your garden to maturity
We have been discussing different vegetables you can grow in fall in Florida. We’ve also learned about preparing your garden before planting and getting your soil, fertilizers, and water system ready. Now that you have prepared your garden for your fall vegetables, planting and maintaining them to maturity would be your next step.
Using the best area in your garden to plant, use stakes or sticks to mark out the different rows where your vegetables will be planted. Set up trellises for climbing vegetables such as beans and peas and mounds for vining veggies such as melons, pumpkins and cucumbers. Don’t forget to establish footpaths or pathways ahead of time so that you won’t be walking all over your plants later on.
So now you are ready to sow the seeds and placing your vegetable bedding plants. Knowing the seed planting depths and seed spacing are critical for a successful fall vegetable planting. Don’t crowd too many plants in one place or else, you may turn up with frail crops. Evenly spaced vegetables are in the best position to obtain the required sunlight. Place tags or markers on every area or row of plants, so that it’s easy to identify them, and so you will know which of them are about to grow and when. Planting extra seeds in every row is highly advised as an allowance for unsuccessful sprouting as well as for thinning. Cover the seeds using fine soil and make it firm over the seeds so that moisture is retained in the soil. Thoroughly and gently water the seeds using a spray, without uncovering or disturbing them. Moisture is needed for the seeds to grow, so it is very essential that the soil is evenly moist all the time until the seedlings have sprouted and grown.
You can plant your seeds indoors using pots. Water your plant thoroughly before transplanting outdoors to minimize the shock of transplant. Remove a plant by gently tapping the pot to loosen its roots, and then place the plant slightly deeper into the hole. Firm the soil around it and water thoroughly.
Keeping your vegetable garden healthy and well-maintained until maturity takes a lot of patience and hard work. Here are some tips that you may consider.
Mulching will help in controlling weeds, in conserving moisture in the soil, and in providing pathways. You can use garden debris, rotted leaves, straw, grass clippings, wood chips or black plastic for mulching.
Be vigilant in keeping pesky pests away all through the growing season. An early discovery makes it much easier to remove the pests. Try not to use pesticides on your vegetables, especially if they have ripened already, unless it is of absolute necessity.
During dry spells vegetable gardens require additional sprinkling. Most crops need an extra dose of watering each week, more so when they are maturing.
Pull out weeds regularly so not to rob your vegetables of root, light, and water space. Once you ignore weeds and let them seed, it can be harder for you to deal with them as they can grow more than what you expect and can take over your plants.
Be sure to come back next week for the last part of our 4 part series. Our topic will be – “Getting Ready for your Fall Vegetable Garden in Florida – Part 4 / List of organic, chemical free agents you can use to keep pesky insects away”.