BY BARBARA STORZ
Success begins with a plan, and vegetable gardens are no exception.
First, select the garden location and decide how large it will be. Keep in mind you will need convenient fresh water, tool storage, and six to eight hours a day of sunlight.
Partial shade can be tolerated by leafy greens and some herbs, but most vegetables prefer full sun all day. Soils must be well drained to grow vegetables. Dig a hole 2-feet deep and fill it with water. Check on it every hour. If the water does not drain off within four hours, you have a problem. Choose another site or think about using raised beds, or large containers to grow your produce.
Involve the family in deciding what to plant. If no one likes asparagus, don’t devote a lot of space to it. Plant one or two plants of something new, but don’t invest major space in vegetables no one will eat. You can download the Vegetable Planting Guide for the Valley at: http://hidalgo.agrilife.org. Click on gardening, then publications. You can get more information on vegetable gardening at http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu.
You still have time to plant a spring vegetable garden. For tomato, eggplant, and peppers, purchase seedlings. Ask your local nurseryman for tomato varieties like “Tycoon,” which is resistant to yellow leaf virus, a serious problem in tomato, or choose cherry tomatoes, for their tolerance of this disease. Remember, the time you spend planning will pay off in a successful garden.
You can also pick up a copy of the Vegetable Planting Guide at the Growing Growers Farmers Market, located in Firemen’s Park on the corner of First Street and Business 83 in McAllen. Master Gardeners are available to answer questions from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. Ask them about upcoming gardening workshops.
Beginning at 10:30 a.m. today, the Growing Growers Farmers Market, is celebrating heart health with a class and samples of grassfed beef from Provenza Farm and Jank Barbeque Sauce.
Barbara Storz is a local horticulturist. You can listen to her gardening show at 7 a.m. Saturdays on KURV Radio, or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.