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Victory Gardens

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.

raised vegetable beds

 

Getting 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.

tomato pot

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

green beans
April is time to plant warm season crops like tomatoes, peppers, squash, eggplant, melons, radish, spinach: plant from seed or cell packs. Beans, corn, turnips and beets may be planted at one to two week intervals to produce a continuous supply of vegetables. 

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

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 

Gardening Articles includes English and Spanish. Click here to view

veggie1
Vegetable Gardening
Los Angeles County Master Gardeners 
Handbook for Beginners/ click here to view or download

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.

UF/IFAS Extension Master Gardener  victory 2020 garden program

Look for Fresno Victory Garden training this Fall.