With all of us spending most of our time at home, interest in vegetable gardening is growing. Whether you have a large vegetable bed in your back yard or just a few pots on your deck you can grow your own vegetables. April is the perfect time to get your vegetable garden started.
Plant only what you and your family like. It's fun to try a few new vegetables, but you want to focus on vegetables and fruit you'll want to harvest and enjoy.
Select a site: It will need about 8 hours of sunlight a day. Vegetables perform best in nutrient rich, well drained soil. Your site need not be a pure vegetable garden. Mix annual flowers with your annual vegetable plants or plant annual and perennial vegetables in your landscape.
Most vegetables need regular watering and should be grown with plants with similar needs. Locate your garden near a water source. Level ground is best. Raised beds can help to maximize plant growing space,improve drainage and can optimize soil quality. Containers are another option. See resources below for planting vegetables in containers.
When to plant: In many areas there are three to four growing seasons for vegetables. Most gardeners grow only summer crops. By planting a spring crop, a summer crop and a fall crop a gardener can get 3 crops from the same space. Recommended planting dates
In May you can still plant melons, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, corn and even tomatoes and eggplant. Water these well especially as temperatures rise. Most vegetable gardens need to be watered 1-3 days per week in the summer months but new transplants may require more frequent watering depending on the temperature.
Fertilizing: Once plants are well established and at least 3-4 inches high, it may be desirable to side dress leafy crops with nitrogen, particularly in sandy soils. Two to three sidedress applications spread throughout the growing season will benefit these crops. Crops grown for their fruit like tomatoes, eggplant and squash wait until first fruit is set then repeat every 4 weeks until final harvest.
Resources to help you get started
Grow LA Victory Garden helps new gardeners start their own gardens quickly and easily in a container, in the backyard
The California Garden Web focuses on research based sustainable gardening practices and uses a question and answer format to present solutions.
National Garden Bureau Victory Garden 2.0 Ten steps for planting your own victory garden
Growing tomatoes UCANR Publication: Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden
Growing Peppers Tips for growing peppers from the National Garden Bureau.
Look for Fresno Victory Garden training this Fall.