Location is key for vegetable gardens
Spring has sprung in lovely Southern California and this is my favorite growing season.
Now that vegetable gardening has become a major trend, everybody's doing it. But to make sure you do it right, please consider the following items, because just like property values, gardening success depends on location.
• When planting your spring garden, know that flowering veggies (tomatoes, cukes, zucchini, etc) want at least 6 hours of sun per day to produce the optimum fruit for you and your neighbors to enjoy.
• Plants like basil and lettuce have leaves that are delicate, so plant them in a way that they can catch some shade from larger plants. Southern California sun can be harsh.
• Ripping out that old concrete slab to create a vegetable garden is a great idea, but you should definitely send out your soil for analysis, checking for arsenic and heavy metals. Contractors used to use arsenic when mixing cement. You don’t want that in your soil!
• Raised beds are great, look cool and can keep your neighbors satisfied if you're growing vegetables in your front yard. But the best way to grow your veggies is right in the dirt. It is true!
• If you're sharing a sprinkler line to irrigate your vegetable garden, it's best to use a line that waters frequently because vegetable gardens like regular watering.
• If you have a lot of pine trees in your area, you may have trouble growing some vegetables. The needles create a very acidic soil and most vegetables don't like that.
• When possible, choose a space that is close to the house, that way, you'll have easy access to your vegetables and you'll be able to monitor your garden.
• Melons, pumpkins or any large squash should be planted in a separate area, away from the other vegetables. They get massive! Also, especially with melons, they like to climb. Planting next to a chain link fence works well, but monitor it for fruit and remove it as soon as it's ready. The weight can pull the fence down.
• Planting near flowering plants will attract pollinators (for example: bees) and is going to increase your crops' production.
Slap on some sunscreen, maybe a hat, and have fun!!!!
About this Angie’s List Expert: Larisa Code, owner of Gardens by Larisa in Los Angeles, has been a landscape designer in Los Angeles since 2006. She is a Master Gardener, an organic gardening instructor to children, an urban guerilla gardener and was the featured landscape designer on DIY Network's 'Family Under Construction.' Gardens by Larisa earned the Angie’s List Super Service Award in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 (Photo by Katya Kirilloff).
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