Growing organic vegetables at home Spring tips from Brenda’s Natural Foods

  • If the garden is in a new spot, a soil test is recommended to determine pH and nutrient content. Call Cornell Cooperative Extension of Oneida County at 736-3394 to arrange a soil test.
  • Decide whether to plant seeds or starter plants. Many greens, zucchini and beans start easily from seed, but tomatoes and peppers need a long growing season and plants should be used. I recommend buying plants from local nurseries to avoid blight issues brought in from out of the area….
  • Plant at the right time. Cold hardy crops like lettuce, spinach and kale can be sown as soon as the snow melts! Warm season crops like tomatoes, peppers and beans should be sown after the danger of frost has passed, usually around Memorial Day.
  • Make sure the garden gets plenty of sun and water. Full sun is best for vegetables, but never less than eight hours per day is recommended. Plants need one inch of rain per week for best results. Install and monitor a rain gauge.
  • I recommend the use of organic fertilizers and soil amendments, and I purchase many of these at the local Ace hardware. Earthworm castings, humus, compost and others all add fertility needed to grow optimally.
  • Harvest at the right time. Allow tomatoes to ripen on the vine. Pick frequently to encourage maximum production.
  • Savor and enjoy! Your fresh vegetables contain the most nutrients you can get, since vitamins start to degrade as soon as vegetables are picked.
  • Brenda’s Natural Foods is located 236 W. Dominick St.