Springtime brings thoughts of lush plants and juicy vegetables picked straight from the garden. The UGA Cooperative Extension has some basic tips for gardeners.
• Prevent pests from invading by planting as early in the spring as the weather will permit. Also, be sure to rotate crops to prevent buildup of pests in one area of the garden.
• When watering your garden, use a method that delivers water as directly to the soil as possible and water thoroughly to encourage plant roots to seek moisture and nutrients deep in the soil. Soak the soil to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. A thorough soaking every five to six days is usually sufficient. Of course, weather conditions, like temperature and rainfall, will affect frequency of watering.
• If you do not have space for a garden, there are a number of vegetable varieties suitable for growing in containers that have small plants and produce either full-sized or miniature fruits. Containers should be at least 5 gallons to prevent rapid loss of moisture and provide adequate room for root growth. The biggest challenges will be to properly water and fertilize the plants.
• Watering early in the day reduces water loss by evaporation and allows the foliage to dry quickly. Watering in the late afternoon or evening can leave foliage wet overnight and encourage diseases.
• Do not overwater. Overwatering not only wastes water but also waterlogs the soil. Overly wet soil is much more likely to be attacked by root rot and fungus.
More information on gardening can be found by calling 1-800-ASK-UGA1 or visiting www.ugaextension.com.