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  Ensure Success

Increase the success of your vegetable garden with these easy steps:

Make sure the soil of your garden is the best possible.  Using compost will make for healthier plants, bigger yields and reduced diseases and pests.  Compost will add nutrients and beneficial microorganisms to your soil, save on water needs and stabilize the pH levels.  Compost helps to extend the growing season by enabling the soil to warm faster and cool off slower.    

Take the time to find out the right time to plant each of your vegetable choices.  The back of the seed package or the website can guide you to the best time of year and the best soil temperature for proper germination.  These vary for each vegetable type.  Gardeners in many areas will need to start some longer-maturing vegetables indoors so that when the outdoor soil is warm enough they will already have a head-start.  Most other vegetables can be directly seeded into the soil when the daytime soil reaches the proper temperatures.  See the table below for the best time to start these long-maturing vegetables.

Use companion planting to ensure the success and improve the results of your gardening.  Some plants just do better when along side a neighbor that they like, or away from neighbors that they dislike.  See the description under each heirloom vegetable on our website for suggestions for companion plantings.  For instance basil planted next tomatoes will help deter tomato horn worms and improve the tomato flavor, too.  Some plants can also help to attract predator insects to help rid your garden of pests, while other companion plants can attract beneficial pollinators to your garden to improve harvest and seed production.

A few plants to attract beneficial and pollinating insects and repel pests from your vegetable garden:

   Alyssum (Lobularia spp.)

   Lovage (Levisticum officinale)

   Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

   Marigold (Tagates spp.)

   Asters (Aster spp.)

   Rudbeckia (Rudbeckia spp.)

   Bee Balm (Monarda spp.)

   Sedum (Sedum spp.)

   Coriander (Coriandrum)

   Sunflowers (Helianthus spp.)

   Dill (Anethum graveolens)

   Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)

   Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

   Thyme (Thymus spp.)

   Goldenrod (Solidago spp.)

   Yarrow (Achillea filipendulina)

   Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia)

   Zinnia (Zinnia spp.)

Taken from ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Heirloom Vegetables’ by Chris McLaughlin 2010

Use mulch to control weeds, keep in water, protect roots, prevent erosion, condition soil, and protect the plants from soil born bacteria and diseases.  Keep your mulch away from the plant stem, but spread it liberally around the drip edge of plants, in walkways and between rows.

Click Here for a detailed table of "Growing Recommendations by Region for Vegetables with Long Maturing Times".

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