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News Story
Updated: 06/18/2014 12:14:08AM

Plant the spring vegetable garden

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ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

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Containers are a great way to grow vegetables. Use a prepared soil mix to be sure your plants remain nematode free. Due to our mild winter, fall planted eggplants have already set numerous golf-ball sized fruits. Give them a helping of fertilizer or a top dressing of compost and be harvesting tender eggplant in a couple weeks.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

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Set out plants of peppers, eggplant and tomatoes now.Peppers need consistently moist soil and plenty of nitrogen to produce fruits with thick juicy flesh. Mulch pepper plants to help conserve water.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

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Plant a row of sunflowers to add some color to your garden. They’ll help attract pollinators to your vegetable crops too. We plant sunflowers along the garden fence, and tie the stems to the fence to prevent them from falling over in March winds.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY AL SMOKE

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Cucumbers are susceptible to a variety of fungal, bacterial and viral diseases, plus insect pests including vine borers and squash bugs. Select disease resistant varieties. Try to grow these crops quickly by providing adequate water and fertilizer and be prepared to deal with pests.

By Karen Smoke

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It’s time to plant the spring vegetable garden. Our winter has been unseasonable mild. Fall planted solanaceae crops such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant may have come through light frosts and showing signs of new growth now. It’s always a dilemma — do we pull them out and plant new — or hope for a second crop?

We find tomatoes the most difficult to pull through a second season, so we’ll pull those struggling plants and plant new. We picked up a couple Hawaiian cultivars from D & D Growers at the Rio de la Paz Festival. When you think about it, that state has a more varied and bizarre climate than our own, so varieties bred for that state might have promise here. We’ve grown Hawaiian cultivars in the past, in the fall season, and always had good luck with them.

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