To enjoy vegetables at their peak of freshness, grow your own. Even if you have only a small space, or a container garden, there are many selections available that yield bountiful harvests from dwarf, compact plants.
Most vegetables are fast-growing annual plants that will be ready to harvest in 1 to 3 months after planting. Some vegetables, such as peas and lettuce, grow best in the cool conditions of spring and fall, while others, such as tomatoes, corn, and squash, need warm soil to grow well. Almost all vegetables need full sun for vigorous growth and full flavor.
You can grow vegetables from seeds or transplants planted in rich soil. Keep seedlings well watered until you set them out in your garden.
- When growing vegetables from seed, thin out some of the seedlings immediately after they sprout to make sure those that remain have sufficient room to grow well.
- Set out transplants promptly after purchase. Most vegetables grow so quickly that they do not hold long in small containers.
- Rotate crops to avoid planting the same vegetable in the same space year after year. Rotation is your best defense against soil-borne diseases.
- Experiment with different varieties to make growing and eating your vegetables more interesting and fun.
- Weed early and often. After plants become established and have been thinned (or planted) to proper spacing, use mulch to control weeds between plants and rows.