The Q&A Archives: Vegetable Gardening in Utah

Question: We are new to the Salt Lake City area and unfamiliar with this climate and growing season. As a family we are planning a vegetable garden for the coming year and need some pointers. Is there a specific fertilizer that we should use on the variety of vegies we will plant? What about pests? We are planning to grow a little bit of everything and are confused about what all around products are staples.

Answer: To begin with, you're in USDA zone 5 and your lowest winter temperatures should be -20F to -10F. Great apple growing country! You should also have about 150 days of growing season. This is important when choosing varieties of veggies for your garden.If you've really never gardened before, you should have your soil tested to find the pH (most veggies like the pH to be about 6.0 to 7.5) You'll probably want to add as much organic material to your garden area as you can get hold of. Organic matter helps "fluff up" the soil, helps retain moisture, and returns nutrients to the soil when plant material breaks down. As far as fertilizing your garden, most people use a 5-10-10 on plants that blossom and set fruit and a 10-10-10 on leafy veggies. You can accomplish the same thing by spreading a two-inch layer of mulch over the plant roots. Healthy plants that are fed and watered regularly (1-inch of water per week) will not be overwhelmed with insect pests and diseases. So, monitor your garden frequently, pick off and destroy any diseased plant parts or insects you see, and you probably won't have any real problems.<br><br>When you have specific questions on certain vegetables, let us know.

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