Master Your North Carolina Garden: Top 10 Garden Tips & Tricks

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A Home Gardener’s Guide to Success

A master gardener’s top 10 concerns and common mistakes that home gardeners face while cultivating their vegetable gardens.

Expert Gardening Tips for Healthier Vegetables

  1. Water is key: Most vegetables need an inch of water a week, with some like yellow squash needing 1.5 inches. Water before sunrise so all the water is available to the plant.
  2. Deep watering: Shallow watering is not as beneficial as deep watering twice a week. This encourages roots to grow deeper.
  3. Water at the base: Water the base of the plant, not the leaves, to avoid leaf spot diseases.
  4. Mulch: Mulching helps reduce weeds, cools soil, retains moisture, and prevents disease.
  5. Fertilize: Some plants need fertilization, while others don’t. Consult HGIC fact sheets for specific plant fertilization schedules.
  6. Add flowers: Zinnias, cosmos, and sweet alyssum attract pollinators and beneficial insects that eat pests.
  7. Healthy soil: Compost every season for healthier soil. Learn more about composting here.
  8. Rotate crops: Keep a record of where you plant your vegetables to help limit disease and insect problems. Find more information on crop rotation here.
  9. Plant at the right time: Consult a fact sheet for the best planting times.
  10. Spend time in your garden: Regularly spending time in your garden helps proactively deal with insect and disease problems, and keeps crops producing throughout the season.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  • Planting too close together, as plants need airflow.
  • Not providing enough sunlight, especially for tomatoes, which need at least 8 hours.
  • Not soil testing, which helps you understand your soil’s nutrient content.
  • Planting too early or in the wrong season.

Post-Planting: Watch Out for These Issues

  • Spots on leaves could indicate fungal or bacterial disease.
  • Viruses spread by piercing sucking insects can cause destruction. Look for them on the underside of leaves.
  • Root knot nematodes can attack roots, especially in sandier soils, impeding growth.
  • Remove weeds that suck water and nutrients away from plants and harbor pests and viruses.

Story at www.thestate.com – 2023-05-25 12:00:00

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