Even though in NC we can plant veggies almost all year round, I get especially excited about spring. Spring is when you can start putting in your tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, green beans, edamame, squash, zucchini and eggplant. There are tons of other veggies that can go in the ground in the spring, but that is what I focused on this past weekend when getting my garden planted. Every year, I tend to get a little over zealous and pack as much as I can into my two 10’x10′ plots. I want to make sure that I have a little bit of everything.
To get prepared, I had to clean out my plots to get rid of any lingering plants from the winter crops and pick any weeds that were starting to pop up. Then, I had to figure out what kind of fertilizer would be best to use. You can find out what that is by testing your soil. I sent a sample of my soil into the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services and they tested it for free and sent back the results. Now I can be sure I am adding the correct nutrients to the soil. Once, the fertilizer is down you can cultivate your soil. This is done by turning the soil over with a shovel and breaking up any clumps. This helps mix the fertilizer into the soil and gets rid of any rocks you may have. I let my plots sit at least a couple of days before planting anything in them.
Once I am ready to plant, I mark out straight rows to make my garden attractive and to make cultivation, insect control, and harvesting easier. Then I plant a mix of seeds and seedlings. Most seeds or seedlings come with instructions for when it is best to plant and how far you should plant them apart. I mostly use seedlings that I buy from Renfrow Hardware, Roundtree Plantation or the CPCC plant sale, because they seem to perform better for me. It is important to me to plant all organic and GMO free. Now that everything is in the ground, I have to wait a couple of months for them to start producing any vegetables. During this time I can munch on lettuce, spinach and kale that was planted late winter and earlier spring. I also can start planning out what I would like to do with the surplus of veggies that are to come. I can’t wait for fresh salsa, tomato pie, baba ganoush and quick pickles. I also like to can or freeze them, so I can use them through out the year.
I am waiting with great anticipation!