Back to Basics Vegetable Gardening

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gardenAs Spring is now officially here it is time to think about planting your garden, which many have already done with some root crops like Irish potatoes. Also, as many of us are spending more time at home due to the Coronavirus circumstance, it is a good time to be outside and devote more time to being self-reliant by growing some of our food. Gardening can provide not only better nutrition and physical exercise, but also mental relief from stress and anxiety.

Planning a garden is the first step to consider with starting your vegetable garden. You may already have a site, but if not focus on a site with near source of water and full sunlight of course. Well-drained soil is another consideration. Run rows east to west if possible. Plant tall-growing vegetables on the north side of lower-growing crops. If space site is limited utilize “Raised- Beds” and plant crops that yield greatest return for your effort such as pole beans, tomatoes, cabbage, root crops, and leafy greens.

If possible have your soil analyzed, which you can get “soil test kit” at your County Extension Center. When applying fertilize broadcast and till into soil or apply it in furrows 3 inches to either side of the rows with crops.

Plant seed by covering lightly or pressing down the seed your finger into the soil from .5”- 1”. Transplants with either peat or soil cups should be planted so that all roots are buried. Both seed and transplants need to watered after planting. Transplants need temporary shade for 2-3 days after you set them out. Mulch with either leaves, straw, black plastic, newspaper or compost to conserve moisture, reduce weeds and control erosion.

If you have major pest or disease problems, please contact the office below.

For more information and an “NC State Extension Home Vegetable Gardening – Quick Reference Guide” please contact Robert J. Hawk at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Jackson County Center or the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Swain County Center at 828-736-6919 or email him at