The Q&A Archives: Planting Vegetables

Question: I was wondering which vegetables grow best in the bay area of California, I have planted tomatoes, carrots, crook neck squash, zucchini, watermelon and strawberries. I would love to know how much to water these plants and if they are the right kind to plant here? I would like to know the best insect to take care of all my little pests on the tomato plant, I have a Praying Mantis egg sack, and ladybugs but the egg sack I can not tell if it has hatched or not. Thanks

Answer: For best results, choose the short-season tomato types (fewest number of days to maturity as listed on the plant tags or seed packets), and be sure all of your veggies get as much sunshine as possible. As a rule of thumb, your veggies will grow best if deeply watered once or twice a week (depending upon weather). It's tempting to go out each morning or evening and water your plants, just because it's fun to be in the garden. But a shallow sprinkling will encourage shallow rooting and your plants will require more and more frequent watering as the season progresses. Instead of light watering, plan on watering deeply every 3-7 days. This will encourage deep rooting and more drought tolerance. You'll also want to keep water off the foliage whenever possible. If you must put a sprinkler out in your garden to water, be sure to do it early in the morning so the foliage can dry off before night fall. This will help keep your plants disease free.

Insect pests are usually taken care of by predacious insects if we just allow nature to take its course. The population of pesty insects usually needs to get high before the predators arrive, but they almost always come to our rescue. Praying mantis will consume nearly every other insect so if you have a population of them in your garden, they should take care of the other insects. Ladybug larvae will eat aphids, ground beetles will eat slug and snail eggs. The list goes on. So to attract beneficial insects to your garden, try to have lots of different kinds of flowers in bloom during the summer months. Insects will come to drink the nectar or collect pollen and will snack on the pesty insects while they are there.

Hope you have a bountiful harvest of squash, tomatoes, carrots, watermelon and strawberries!!

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