With the seedling sale in full swing, I’ve had so much fun talking with folks about their gardens. If any of you are lucky enough to plant a garden at home or just have space for some pots, you may know how tricky it can be at times. Since home gardening is so small scale, any mistake or damage is felt so much more. I’m here to give you a few tips and tricks to help improve your success and potentially, your yields. 

Many people ask me which plants don’t mind part sun. To be honest, most annuals (vegetables, herbs and flowers) will need a super sunny spot. That said, some things don’t like the heat of the summer and might do well in a shadier spot, like lettuce, bok choy, spinach and radishes. 

Give your vegetables enough space:
A common mistake when planning gardens is that plants can quickly become too crowded. Always check online for recommended spacing so that your vegetables are able to size up. When first planting seedlings, it may look like there is too much space between the plants, but trust me, it’ll be worth it once you are harvesting a huge head of lettuce or pulling up a nice big carrot. It is also important to give certain plants enough space to allow proper air flow and reduce the chance of spreading diseases.

Trellis your tomatoes:
First, check to see if the tomato variety you are growing is determinate or indeterminate. Determinate varieties will grow to about 4 or 5 feet tall, they do not need pruning and their fruit will ripen in a concentrated time frame. A tomato cage should work well to trellis determinate tomatoes. Indeterminate varieties, however, need proper trellising (pruning is also recommended) because they will continue to grow to at least 10 feet tall. The tomato cages you see at most garden stores are just not tall enough. If you have the space and are growing six or more plants, I recommend looking into trellising your tomatoes using the Florida weave with (at least) 6 ft stakes. Check out this video for some tips.

My best advice for you: weed once a week (and ideally you’ll weed on a sunny day before it rains)! If you stay on top of weeding frequently, it won’t be a hassle and shouldn’t take too much time. Even if you don’t see any weeds, just disturb the top inch of soil by scuffling with your fingers or a rake and scratch the surface to uproot any tiny weeds that may have just germinated. For larger weeds, remove them from your garden completely and let them sit in the sun to die before adding them to a compost pile.

I hope these tips were helpful! Happy planting everyone!

Until next time,