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Garden Solutions - May 2016

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Local Blogs - Hillermann Nursery & Florist
Saturday, 07 May 2016

A woman gardening in raised bed vegetable gardenGrowing your own food can be a fun and satisfying activity that can nourish your body and your soul. Homegrown veggies and fruits can be more flavorful and nutritious than store-bought produce. Sometimes people think they don't have the time to dedicate to an edible garden, but it can easily fit into ANY busy schedule. Once planted, an average-sized edible garden will require less than fifteen minutes a day to maintain. Most seasoned vegetable gardeners look forward to their time spent in their garden, because the rewards are so great! And the therapy it provides is even better!! Hillermann Nursery & Florist can provide you with all the plants and know how to make your garden a valuable, money saving asset for your home.

When it comes to location, choose the sunniest spot in your yard. Most edible plants prefer 6 or more hours of sun, although leaf veggies (like lettuce) can grow with less sunlight. Consider container gardens if you have a bright deck or patio. Edibles can also be incorporated into your flowerbeds and ornamental plantings as well. Be sure the area has good circulation or airflow.

When possible, raised beds offer ideal growing conditions for vegetables. This is done by mounding soil 8-12" high with or without framing it with word or blocks. Soil in raised beds heats up faster and produces a crop more quickly. If these beds are high enough, they may even deter dogs and rabbits from visiting, but be ready to put up screening or fencing if necessary. Raised beds also offer better drainage and reduce root rot. A garden bed should be no wider than 4' to allow for easy access from both sides.

The key ingredient to a vegetable garden is the soil foundation. Amend the topsoil with compost, such as Black Gold (which is MO Botanical Garden Compost produced in St Louis!). Well-rotted manure and humus are also suitable for adding to the existing soil.

Fresh garden vegetablesBase your crop selection on what your family likes to eat. Choose from Hillermann's selection of plants that are known to be well suited for our area. We trail most of our offerings to ensure that they'll be successful in your garden too!

Plant your tall crops (like corn and climbers) on the north side of the garden to prevent them from shading the other shorter plants. Plant medium sized plants (like peppers, tomatoes....) towards the center. Short crops, like carrots, radishes, and lettuce, should be planted on the south end. Try to orient your garden from north to south for best sun coverage.

Here is a sample plant list for a healthy family of four:
Tomato plants:
-2 for munching (grape or cherry)
-2 for cooking (Roma)
-2 for slicing (Better Boy, Celebrity...)
-2 for colorful salads (Lemonboy...)
-2 for conversation (Mr. Stripey or other Heirlooms...)
4 cucumber plants
12 broccoli plants
8 cauliflower plants
20 lettuce plants
6 pepper plants
3 pumpkin plants
10 spinach plants
2 zucchini or squash plants

Essential herbs
-French tarragon
-mint (very vigorous, so grow in a container!)
-fennel (for you and the butterflies!)

Other essentials...
Shovel, hard rake and tiller
Fertilizer-natural/organic or commercial
Tomato cages, stakes

I truly hope you enjoy the spring and summer season and try your hand a growing fresh produce for your family. Here is a recipe you can try using your fresh produce:

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw
1 large head cabbage, shredded 1 tsp. salt
1 large onion, chopped 1 tsp. celery seed
1 large green pepper, chopped 1 cup cider vinegar
1 cup sugar + 1 Tbsp. sugar ¾ cup salad oil

Combine the cabbage, onion and green pepper in a bowl. Pour the 1 cup of sugar over the mixture. Let set in refrigerator covered for 4 hours or overnight. Boil together 1 Tbsp. sugar, salt, celery seed, vinegar and salad oil. Let mixture cool. Mix with slaw ½ to 1 hour before serving. Bon appétit!

See you next month,
Sandi Hillermann McDonald

Articles posted to the Local Blogs section are the opinions of the authors and not necessarily that of or WASHMO Media, LLC.

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