I have noticed that a lot of people are planting food gardens. I’ve always wanted to grow some of my own vegetables, but it seems very daunting. Is it difficult to set up a vegetable garden?
A: Your perceptions are correct! With the advent of COVID-19, interest in gardening, especially food gardening, has increased. People spend more time at home and may want safer food supplies.
Vegetable garden is not difficult. A beginner can start with a few containers planted with easy-to-grow plants. Or if you have space to garden right in the ground, a plot of no more than 10 feet by 10 feet is a good size to start with. Try these options before digging out large areas. If you’ve never gardened before, this is a great way to try “Gardening without a lot of work or expense.
The two most important things to keep in mind are sun and water. Most vegetables need at least 8 hours of sun a day. South and west exposures with no shadows from buildings and trees provide most of the sunlight. You can count on Mother Nature to provide water, but in recent years she has been quite capricious and summer droughts are increasing. You will have greater success by watering your plants. Make sure you have a spigot close by or a hose water will get old very quickly!
Gardeners in northern New York have to plan for our slightly shorter growing season. We can grow most vegetables, but you need to choose varieties that mature in about 120 days and start growing plants at the right time. Cold season vegetables such as peas, beets, spinach and carrots can be planted as early as the end of April, depending on the weather and soil conditions. Other plants and transplants require warmer temperatures and should be planted in late May. Examples are green beans, tomatoes, and peppers.
The best place to get research-based gardening information relevant to your location is at your County Cooperative Extension. Internet research often brings up websites that are trying to sell you a product and / or offer information that is not research based.
In fact, Jefferson County’s Cornell Cooperative Extension is running an online “Beginner’s Vegetable Gardening” educational program March 10-12. We’ll go into much more detail about what, when, where, and how vegetables are grown in a home garden. To register for this program, visit: wdt.me/veg_garden.
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