persuaded to try any other. Given enough time and space, I will try
to grow anything and everything. Although the color from flowers is
indeed rewarding, why eat frozen vegetables or market produce three
days removed from real freshness?
Vegetables are easy to grow in your own garden, cost less than
store bought, and will never be fresher than picked from the vine.
Homegrown vegetables can and should be literally enjoyed within
moments of harvest.
What, then, do we grow? Before you ready your gardening tools,
make a list of vegetables you really like and call your favorite
nursery for their availability and appropriateness to your local
clime. I prefer "starters" to seeds ("early" tomatoes, peppers,
cucumbers, zucchini and eggplant are a few of the vegetables I
spotted this week) because they require less initial care.
Vegetables require at least six hours of sunlight to prosper.
Avoid shade and possible root competition by locating your vegetable
plot away from trees and large shrubs. Select a spot that is
protected from winds and avoid low-lying areas that can become "frost
pockets" in the winter.
Vegetables thrive in rich soil. The addition of Gro-Power will
ensure that your vegetables begin with the proper diet. Heavy clay
soils should be made lighter by the addition of Gypsite and
humus-forming organic material like redwood compost or planter's mix.
A soil test kit will reveal any serious deficiencies that might
Once the plants are established, watering should be applied slowly
and deeply to soak the soil to the depth of several inches. Withhold
water until the plants need it again. Drip irrigation is the most
desirable irrigating method -- water is applied deeply and evenly,
sun scald of tender foliage and fruit is avoided, and runoff waste
water is kept to a minimum. Steady watering and proper fertilization
will allow a vegetable garden to flourish.
Vegetable plants cannot compete successfully with weeds, insects
and diseases. The garden should therefore be kept "clean" by removing
weeds before they become well-established. All cultivation and hoeing
should be shallow to keep root damage to a minimum. Pests can be
identified by visual sighting or by the damage they leave. Hand
picking, spraying with water, or the application of soap and oil
products are the first steps in combating insects and mites. Consult
your local nurseryperson for proper selection and use of stronger
pesticides -- only if all else has failed.
It would never occur to Catharine, that anything other than eating
well is essential for a meal. She eagerly makes a meal of veggies and
rice whenever she can. However, I am not convinced that vegetables
alone contribute to a marriage or a tasty meal. Sensing my
skepticism, my sweet wife has offered to add chicken broth to the
stir-fried veggies tonight. That is a true offer of domestic harmony.
See you next time.
* STEVE KAWARATANI is the owner of Landscapes by Laguna Nursery,
1540 S. Coast Highway in Laguna Beach. He is married to local artist,
Catharine Cooper, and has three cats. He can be reached at (949) 497
2438 or e-mail, email@example.com.