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Spring Vegetable Gardening

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Presentation on theme: "Spring Vegetable Gardening"— Presentation transcript:

1 Spring Vegetable Gardening
Common Sense Vegetable Gardening Spring Vegetable Gardening Patty Glenn Leander Travis County Master Gardener Association

2 Getting Started What do you like to eat? How much space do you have?
How much time do you have? Observe your surroundings: - where is sun/shade? - do you need a fence? - do you have good drainnage? Start small

3 Central Texas Horticulture
Seek Local Advice Central Texas Horticulture Aggie Website Master Gardener Help Desk Regional Books The Southern Kitchen Garden by Bill Adams and Tom LeRoy The Vegetable Book by Dr. Sam Cotner Texas Organic Vegetable Gardening by Howard Garrett and Malcolm Beck

4 Good Soil - A Healthy Foundation
Remove weeds, rocks, debris Amend with organic matter on a regular basis 8-12” loose, friable soil (sandy loam is ideal) Do not compact soil – roots need oxygen Ideal pH is 6.0 – 7.5 Do not work soil when wet May take 3-5 years to build good organic soil

5 Optimum Nutrient Availability pH 6.0 – 7.5

6 Soil Test Routine soil test at A&M = $10-$20
Test recommended every 3-4 years General fertilizer recommendation: 1 cup high N fertilizer ( or ) per 25’ of row OR 2-3 cups organic (like or 6-2-2) per 25’ of row

7 Raised Beds No more than 4’ across, 8-12” high
Best to avoid treated lumber Rot resistant wood - cedar, redwood Stone, cinder blocks Fill with quality garden soil and compost


9 Square Foot Gardening

10 Location, Location, Location 6-8 hours of sun, close and convenient

11 Adequate Moisture & Drainage
Locate garden near a source of water Raised beds for rocky or heavy clay soils Liberal amounts of compost - holds moisture - improves drainage Avoid wetting leaves Let it soak in, then water again Monitor your equipment regularly for leaks

12 Make Your Own Compost Layers of green and brown with a shovelful of soil/compost Green = Nitrogen grass clippings, kitchen waste, coffee grounds, N fertilizer Brown = Carbon leaves, newspaper, straw Make it big – at least 3’x3’

13 Mulch Helps retain moisture Regulates soil temperature Controls weeds
Use compost, leaves, pine needles, grass clippings, alfalfa hay, straw

14 The Right Plant . . .

15 . . . at the Right Time Last frost in spring: Mid-March
First freeze in fall: Mid-November

16 Warm Season Crops

17 Crop Rotation – Warm Season Avoid planting crops from the same families in the same spot year after year to avoid recurring diseases and pests Legumes (beans, peas) Grass (corn) Morning Glory (sweet potatoes) Cucurbit (squash and melons) Nightshade (tomato, potato, pepper, eggplant) Mallow (okra)

18 Beans – Bush and Pole Plant March/April and again in September
55-80 days to harvest Harvest when young and tender Pick frequently Bush beans mature faster than pole Best in fall when mature in cool weather

19 Limas Beans Plant mid-March/April and again in late summer
65-85 days to harvest (bush varieties are faster, pole produce more) Harvest when seeds are fully developed in pods Blooms fall off in hot weather

20 Sweet Corn Plant March - April 65-95 days to harvest
Plant in wide rows or blocks rather than a long single row for better pollination Pollen from tassel (male) must land on silk (female) and travel down to kernel to fertilize Poorly filled ears usually due to heat stress, hail or insect damage during pollination Harvest when silks are brown and dry, ear feels full and kernels are milky (18-24 days after silks appear)

21 Tips for Cultivation Thin when 6” tall to a 12 inch spacing
When 1 foot tall, side dress (1 ½ - 3 c fertilizer /10 ft row) and “dirt” plants Feed again when tassels appear Monitor regularly and treat for pests Isolate normal (su) and sugary enhanced (se) sweet corn from “Super Sweet” (sh2) varieties

22 Corn Earworm Hard to avoid this pest Spray or dust with Bt
If found in tips just break them off Indicator of freshness

23 Cucumbers Plant mid-March through April, again in August
Harvest in days Transplant or direct seed Fertilize lightly every 4 weeks Grow vertical Harvest frequently Suyo

24 Pickling or Slicing

25 Eggplant Plant transplants mid-March through April
Dusky Plant transplants mid-March through April Harvest days from transplanting Harvest when skin is shiny Ping Tung Long

26 Warm Season Greens Molokhia Malabar

27 Melons Plant mid-April to mid-May Lots of organic matter
days to harvest Need plenty of space to ‘run’ Save space – grow vertical Fertilize lightly and mulch well before plants begin to “run” Harvest cantaloupe when fruit separates from stem Harvest watermelon when underside is cream colored and tendril is brown and dry

28 Okra Plant April – July when soil is warm Harvest in 50-60 days
Space 2 feet between plants Harvest daily when pods are 4-6” long Wear gloves and long sleeves to harvest

29 Peppers Set out transplants in April, again early August
Hybrid varieties usually perform better Harvest days from transplanting Fertilize every 3 weeks with high nitrogen fertilizer

30 SWEET Gypsy Red Cheese Bells = 0-350 Scoville Units Big Bertha
Blushing Beauty Jupiter Yolo Wonder Non-Bells = Scoville Units Fooled You Jalapeño Giant Marconi Gypsy Pimento L Red Cheese Pimento Gypsy Red Cheese

31 HOT Habanero Habanero= Jalapeño = 3500-8000 Serrano = 8000-22,000
Tabasco = 30,000-50,000 Habanero= 100, ,000 Mucho Nacho

32 Potatoes Plant on Valentine’s Day Use certified seed potato
2-3 oz pieces with 2-3 eyes Plant in trench, 4-6” deep Hill soil up around stems (tubers form laterally from stem) Dig in days (or sooner for new potatoes) Wipe off but do no not wash before storing

33 Southern Peas Plant April through July (when soil is warm)
Harvest in days, when pods are full and just starting to yellow Prefer dry conditions but need adequate moisture during bloom and pod set Excess fertilizer = more vine, fewer pods

34 Summer Squash Multipik President
Plant mid March - April, again August - mid September Harvest in days Leave 2-3 feet between plants Beware - squash vine borer Multipik President

35 Male and female flowers

36 Squash Vine Borer

37 Squash Mosaic Virus

38 Winter Squash Sunshine Plant April – June Harvest in 80-110 days
Plants will run - give space to vine or grow up Harvest when rind is hard Cha-Cha

39 Powdery Mildew Causes: Treatment: -Warm days followed by cool nights
-Poor air circulation -Excess fertilizer Treatment: -remove infected leaves -Wettable sulfur -Potassium bicarbonate -Neem oil -Serenade

40 Sweet Potato Plant slips April-June Allow space for plants to run
Harvest in 4-5 months Dig when foliage dies back (October)

41 Tomatoes Plant mid March-April Resistant varieties – VFNT
Protect from freeze Apply a weekly foliar spray of a water soluble fertilizer Work in 2-3 Tbsp of high N fertilizer (ammonium sulfate, blood meal, bat guano) when 1st cluster of fruit forms Pollination ceases and flowers drop when nighttime temps go above mid-70’s Sweet Baby Girl Juliet

42 Wrap cages with row cover
Gives a few degrees of frost protection Protects young plants from wind damage Protects from insects Remove when plants begin to flower

43 Tomato Trials A Few Master Gardener Favorites
Standard Slicer Big Beef Bush Early Girl Bush Celebrity First Lady New Girl Sunmaster Grape/Cherry Agriset Juliet Sweet Baby Girl Sugary Sugar Cherry Yellow Pear Heirloom Brandywine Cherokee Purple German Johnson Persimmon (yellow)

44 Leaf-footed bug

45 Blossom End Rot Causes:
Irregular soil moisture – too much or not enough Calcium deficiency in soil Poor calcium absorption Temperature fluctuations Treatment: Regular, deep water (do not let soil dry out) Raised beds for drainage Mulch soil

46 Fall Vegetable Gardening
Common Sense Vegetable Gardening Fall Vegetable Gardening Patty Glenn Leander Travis County Master Gardener Association 46

47 Cool Season Crops

48 Crop Rotation Cool Season
Composite (artichoke, lettuce) Crucifer (broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, radish, turnip) Goosefoot (beets, chard, spinach) Legumes (peas) Lily (asparagus, garlic, onions) Parsley (carrots, cilantro, dill)

49 Asparagus Plant crowns in early spring, 18” apart
Don’t harvest till 3rd year Use well drained, organic soil Feed with high N fertilizer in late winter and after harvest Cut foliage down after first freeze and mulch

50 Beets Like cool soil Plant in October and again in December
Soak seeds overnight Cold hardy Thin 4-6” apart Harvest small for best quality Eat your greens!

51 Broccoli Transplants in October 12”-15” spacing
Side-dress with 2-4 tbsp of fertilizer when heads begin to form Grow fast and strong – bigger plant = bigger head Harvest side shoots after main head

52 Brussels Sprouts Cold tolerant Takes 3-4 months 2’ spacing
Remove tip to stimulate side buds

53 Cabbage Space 1 ½ - 2 feet apart
Likes high fertility – small does of fertilizer (2-4 Tbsp/plant) every 3-4 weeks Tolerates temperatures in the 20’s Can take up to 5 months to form a large head

54 Carrots Plant seed Oct-Dec
Seed needs light to germinate - barely cover with compost or potting mix Require regular water and fertilizer for best flavor

55 Cauliflower Space 2’ apart One head per plant
2-4 Tbsp N fertilizer every 3 weeks Stress = small heads Pull up leaves to blanch heads when 2-3” in diameter

56 Collards and Kale Quick growing Seed or transplant Space 1 - 1 ½ apart
Use young, tender leaves for salads, older tougher leaves for greens and stews Harvest leaves all winter

57 Garlic Plant individual cloves in October 4-6” apart, 1” deep
Small amounts of N fertilizer every 3 weeks Harvest in May or June, when lower leaves turn yellow

58 Kohlrabi Space 1 ½ -2 feet apart Quick growing Seed or transplant
Harvest bulbs when young and tender Use raw or cooked Purple Vienna

59 Lettuce Plant October - March Seeds of transplants
Barely cover seed (needs light to germinate) Keep soil moist for germination Harvest regularly Cold hardy

60 Onions Plant in January - pencil size transplants 6” apart
Fertilize every 3-4 weeks with small amounts of nitrogen (blood meal, cottonseed meal) Avoid high sulfur fertilizer (high sulfur=hot onions) Harvest in May when tops fall over

61 Peas Plant late September and again in January Moderately fertile soil
Most varieties need support Cold does not kill plant but knocks off blooms Garden peas, sugar snap peas, snow peas

62 Radishes Plant seed Oct-Feb THIN! Harvest in days

63 Spinach Plant October – March in cool soil Soak seeds before planting
Space 4-6” apart Mulch well to keep leaves off ground Use row cover to prevent insect damage

64 Swiss Chard Can take the heat but appreciates afternoon shade
Soak seeds before planting Thin 8-12” apart Sauté just like spinach

65 Turnips and Mustard Plant in October Space 6” apart
Harvest turnips when small and tender or grow for tops Harvest young mustard leaves for salads and larger leaves for greens

66 Asian Greens great for stir-fries and salads
Bok choy/Pak choi Mei Qing Choi, Joi Choi, Toy Choy Tatsoi Chinese cabbage Blues, Monument, Michihili Chinese celery Kintsai, White Queen Komatsuna (spinach mustard)

67 Cool Season Pests

68 Harvest at the right time
Harvest in the morning Quick rinse before storing Harvest at peak for best flavor, nutrients Pick frequently to encourage more blooms If you use pesticide read the label for ‘Days to Harvest’

69 Controlling Disease in the Vegetable Garden
Resistant varieties Rotate crop families Proper watering techniques Proper spacing – air circulation Remove diseased plant material Do not work garden when foliage is wet

70 Reducing Pesticide Use
Sanitation Row cover Crop rotation Diverse plantings Resistant varieties Plant at the right time Read the label (and follow it) Tolerate some insect damage

71 Low Toxicity Controls for Pests and Disease
Insecticidal Soap – aphids, spider mites, stink bugs Copper Soap Fungicide - downy mildew, powdery mildew Potassium bicarbonate – powdery mildew Serenade – downy mildew, powdery mildew, early blight Spinosad – stink bugs, spider mites, beetles Neem oil – aphids, beetles, squash bugs Bt – caterpillars

72 Floating Row Cover keeps the bugs out, offers cold protection

73 Spider Mites and Aphids
Common Sense Vegetable Gardening Spider Mites and Aphids Spider mites Aphids

74 Nematodes Plant resistant varieties Discard infected plants
Solarize soil in summer Plant Elbon rye in fall and till under in spring Incorporate organic matter Do not spread through tools

75 Get to know the Good Guys

76 Bonus Tips Start small Think ahead/plan ahead Be realistic
-will you be on vacation at harvest time? -will you be around to water? Be realistic -expect phenomenal success and dismal failures Keep records, make notes -favorite varieties, good production

77 The End

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