saving winter crops - Knowledgebase Question

Apache Junction, Ar
Question by wsgal
January 24, 2010
I planted a winter garden, my first, and it has not been very successful. I have 4 variety of peppers and am wondering 1) should I pull them out and start over? 2) can I fertilize them to jump start them back to being a healthy plant that will continue to grow? 3) last question, a generate fetilizer for my entire garden that would work for all of the vegetables you would recommend? Kathleen

Answer from NGA
January 24, 2010


When I think of winter gardens, I think about cool season crops such as lettuces, cabbage, broccoli, etc. Sounds as though you've planted warm season crops (tomatoes and peppers) at the wrong time of year. As you've discovered, they won't grow well in the cool months. There are 2 growing seasons in the Phoenix area: February (for warm season crops) and October (for cool season crops). I'd pull the existing plants, amend the garden bed with compost or other organic matter, and then plant your warm season crops. Dig the compost into the garden 8-10 inches deep and level the area prior to planting. If you amend the soil with compost, plant your veggies, then spread additional compost over the bare soil between the plants you will be providing lots of nutrients to your veggies so you won't need to feed again, and the mulch on top of the soil will help suppress weeds. After you've harvested your warm season veggies (usually by the end of June), remove the plants and spread 2-3 inches of compost over the top to help suppress weeds. In October dig the compost into the soil and plant your cool season veggies. Repeat this process each year and you'll have rich garden loam and a fantastic harvest.

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