Adirondack Ski Center: Ski Trail (21 March 2013).  Photo by Tom Boothe.  Used by permission.

Workshops at the VIC:
Vegetable Garden Planning Workshop
Saturday, 27 February 2016, 10:30 AM

Workshops at the VIC:  Vegetable Garden Planning Workshop Instructor: Richard Gast; Extension Educator – Horticulture; Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County

Cost: Free

Description: It’s the middle of winter – the time of year when gardeners across the region, green thumbs as well as greenhorns, start thinking about summer vegetable gardening. It’s time to start planning. And it’s amazing what can come of some imagination and a little effort. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you start:

Whichever you choose, it’s time to order vegetable seed catalogs if you haven’t done so already; and time to make lists and order your seeds, if you have.

Every year, more and more first-time vegetable gardeners are getting into vegetable gardening.

Start Small

If you have a lot of time to devote to gardening, great! If not, keep it simple. Plan accordingly. And be creative. A lot of knowledge is not required. Understanding a few basics is.

Weeds and pests need to be controlled; and the time and commitment that this requires, especially in large gardens, cannot be overstated. It’s better to have a small, well-maintained garden than a large one that’s neglected, weedy, and prone to insects and disease. First-time gardeners often plant more than they can easily maintain and, because of this, they fail. Instead, choose crops that have fewer pest problems and that will allow you to produce more food in less space. You can always expand later or next year.

Keep in mind, too, that succession planting of quickly-maturing crops and cultivars will allow you to produce more than one crop (one early, one later) within the confines of a smaller garden. Several radish varieties, for instance, mature in 30 days or less. There are many short-season lettuces that are both tasty and attractive. Since lettuce likes cool weather, seed can be planted early in the spring and again, late in the summer. The same can be said for several frost-tolerant varieties of spinach and even for several varieties of easy to grow, high-yielding bush beans, some of which mature in 2 months or less. A few varieties of fast-growing beets will reach maturity within 2 months, as well.

In fact, if you carefully plan it out and start your first crop early, you can grow a succession of crops in the same garden space; one early, one later, and possibly even a third.

Sunshine, Site, and Soil

When considering a site, keep in mind that adequate sunlight is essential.

A relatively level garden site is preferred. Good soil is essential. In fact, the quality of your garden soil can be the difference between thriving, healthy plants and sickly, struggling, unproductive ones. Loose, fertile, well-drained sandy loam or silt loam soil is best. Areas of heavy clay and waterlogged sites should be avoided. Perfect soil is rarely available however, so gardeners commonly improve, replace, or amend the soils they have. Soil amendments should be rich in organic matter, which creates good texture, helps make garden soils more-easily workable, and promotes the biological activity that allows plant roots to take up necessary nutrients.

Learn More

Join Richard Gast, from the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, on Saturday, 27 February, at 10:30 AM for a vegetable planning workshop.

Explore the VIC

The Paul Smiths VIC offers a wide variety of programs throughout the year to educate and inform Adirondack Park residents and visitors about the natural wonders of the Adirondack Mountains. You can help support these programs by joining the Friends of the VIC. More information on Friends of the VIC memberships

Explore the Trails

The VIC trails are free and open to the public, from dawn to dusk, spring through fall. In winter, the trails are open to cross-country skiers and snowshoers for a fee. Day or season passes may be purchased.