the tops and bottoms off peat pots when setting out vegetables. Peat
pots, which are supposed to decay when submerged in the soil, don't
always break down the first year they are planted. This leaves plant
roots captive inside. To complicate matters further, if the peat rim
emerges above the soil surface, it can dry out and steal moisture from
the surrounding soil and nearby roots. Peat pot problems are easily
solved by tearing off the top and bottom of the pot before planting.
This helps eliminate the danger of drying out and gives roots a way to
escape if the peat pot persists.
vertically to save space. Instead of letting beans, cucumbers, melons,
and squash sprawl across the ground, you can let them climb a trellis
height to a vegetable garden with a tepee covered with bean and pea
vines. This space saver works similarly to a trellis but has a
different look. Make the tepee of six or eight 6-foot-high poles tied
together at the top. Plant pole beans, lima beans, or peas around each pole, and they will twine up to the top.
- Side-dress long-growing crops, such as indeterminate tomatoes, eggplants,
and peppers, with a balanced vegetable-garden fertilizer to keep them
producing. After the first harvest, sprinkle some granular fertilizer
around the perimeter of the plants, then work it lightly into the soil
and water well. The extra nutrients can encourage blossoming of new
flowers and development of fruits afterward.
newspaper covered with straw between garden rows to eliminate weeds and
retain moisture. This dynamic duo works more efficiently together than
either one alone. At the end of the growing season, rototill the paper
and straw into the soil to decay.
- Plant melons and cucumbers in the compost
pile. (They might grow there anyway if you toss old fruits on the pile
in the fall.) Warm, moist, nutrient-rich compost seems to bring out the
best in melon and cucumber vines.
- Extend the fall harvest season for crops such as cabbage, brussels sprouts, and broccoli with a warm coat of straw. Although it may never be fashionably chic, straw does trap heat effectively.
Find out the most successful methods of growing asparagus, beans, and cucumbers in the