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Monday, March 24, 2014

What You Need for Your Vegetables Now

It’s the end of the season for cool season, winter vegetables now after mid-March. Warm season vegetables should be going in the ground now if they haven’t already. In protected hot microclimates it should have been sooner. Here is what you need to do now in our hot, desert climate.
Warm season vegetables include tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and your squashes, cucumbers and melons.

When you buy your vegetable transplants, get small ones. A good size is about six to eight inches tall and bushy. While you are at it, buy some compost, a starter fertilizer, some Dipel or Thuricide and insecticidal soap.

Mix the compost with your garden soil when planting the transplants. After planting, sprinkle the starter fertilizer around the base of the plant and water it in. Don’t fertilize again until you see fruit setting. Lightly fertilize all vegetables once a month.
Spray plants with soap sprays twice a week. The soap sprays are more effective if you spray under the leaves, not just on top. With squash you might have to cut or pinch off the lower leaves so you can spray under the other plant leaves.

Spray soaps early in the morning or late in the day as the sun is setting and bees have gone home. Alternate soap sprays with Neem if you like Neem oil or other botanical oils.

When seedlings are starting to pop out of the ground, protect them with a Dipel or Thuricide spray or dust applied to the soil immediately around them. This helps protect against cutworms from damaging your new plants. After watering the plants you have to apply it again.

Amend the soil at the time of planting, spray regularly for pests, fertilize lightly once a month and you will have a better harvest.

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