The Q&A Archives: how to grow fruit and veg!

Question: i have just started gardening recently, i have a small garden patch in my backyard and was wondering what type of fruit/veg i can grow and how to grow and look after them!!!! New York Area!

Answer: There are many things you can grow in your area including bush or pole beans, tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers (plant these out well after frost) and peas, spinach, leaf lettuce and broccoli as cool season crops for early spring planting and again in the fall. Although you can grow fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, and so on they are not very well suited to a smaller space so I would suggest starting with the vegetables you like to eat and consider adding fruit later if you decide you have the space and inclination.

I hope your patch is sunny all day or for at least 6 hours including the hour of noon, because most of these plants need full sun. Next you will need to work on the soil. Basic soil tests can help you get started, but usually you will need to add ample amounts of organic matter (such as good quality compost, old rotted leaves, milled spagnum peat moss) to help improve the soil structure and encourage good rooting. Good rooting will support great plants. By the time you have loosened the soil down about six inches and added several inches of organic matter the plantiNG area will be slightly raised, and that is fine.

During the growing season you may need to water during dry spells. To know if you need to water dig into the soil with your finger, if it is still moist or slightly damp do not water yet. When you water, water slowly so it can soak down deep to encourage deep roots. Avoid wetting the foliage of your plants when you water as this can encourage disease problems.

Using a layer of organic mulch several inches thick will help to keep down weeds and help the soil retail moisture, it will also help feed the soil over time as it breaks down.

You might want to take a look at a book or two about vegetable growing. Your Cornell extension will have information as well and can also help you with soil testing and interpreting the results. Have fun, know that gardening is an ongoing thing where we learn by experience, and enjoy those veggies.

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