Don’t you love a tomato freshly-picked off the vine, sun-warmed and perfect? Or a gorgeous pepper, shiny and plump? I don’t think there’s anything more wonderful than fresh produce, and here in the Pooler/Rincon/Savannah area we are lucky enough to have mild winters and a long growing season—a great opportunity to show off a green thumb or learn a new skill, like vegetable gardening!
Whatever you decide to plant, be it flowers or vegetables or a mix, there are always some gardening do’s and don’ts to remember:
1. Put the right plants in the right places! Many plants require a minimum of six hours of sunlight every day in order to properly flourish, while others can’t tolerate direct sun. When you’re selecting your plants, always check the tags for the sun requirements, and try and group similarly based plants together.
2. Remember the growing season! Whether starting from a seed or choosing young plants at a nursery, check the harvesting date, and check your calendar! Our summers are particularly hot and oppressive, so figure out how long before they reach maturity to determine when to plant. You can also check the National Gardening Association’s website for their garden planting calendar to help guide you.
3. Label your plants! Some plants are easy to tell apart, but if you plant multiple kinds of beans or tomatoes it can be hard to differentiate. Label your seeds, if you are beginning from them, or label the row and keep all the same kinds in the same row in order to cut down on confusion later.
4. Feed those babies! Plants of all kinds seem pretty intuitive—give them water, they grow. But how MUCH water? What kind of soil do you have? It’s a good idea to mix in some compost with your soil, and you can also buy a pH tester kit to make sure the spot you have chosen is best for your fruits and veggies.
5. Plant what you love! If your garden is successful, you’ll have produce, and then you need to actually do something with it! If you don’t like zucchini, you will still have to contend with all the zucchini (and believe me, if you have extra zucchini chances are your neighbors do, too). Plant foods you like to eat, because the anticipation will make the time and effort so much more worthwhile.
If you’re worried about space, or don’t have a yard, consider container gardening—many types of tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuces and beans are bred to suit a patio garden.
And if you love fresh produce and your idea of garden work is shopping and figuring out the best way to eat it, we have some wonderful farmers markets in the area, including the Savannah State Farmers Market and the Wilmington Island. Some even offer delivery—check out Polk’s Plus and Polk’s On The Go to have beautiful, local produce delivered directly to your door!
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