Basic Crop Maintenance as Your Vegetable Plants Grow wallacegardencenter

Basic Crop Maintenance as Your Vegetable Plants Grow

Inspect your plants regularly for any signs that something is off, and stay on top of these basic care tasks to ensure their growth remains strong and steady!

Maintaining a vegetable garden isn’t very difficult once you understand the basics, and the payoff of delicious, healthy food is so worth it. As your crops grow, a little bit of maintenance is required every day or two. It’s important to keep an eye on them, so if any issues pop up, you can deal with them ASAP before they get out of hand.

Grow the Healthiest Veggies with These Crop Maintenance Tips

There’s a bit more to growing crops than simply watering them every few days. For the tastiest, healthiest veggies possible, go through these steps to ensure they’re on the right track from planting until harvest time!

Wallace's Garden Center-Basic Crop Maintenance as Your Vegetable Plants Grow-fertilizing vegetable gardenFertilize Your Garden at Least Once Per Month

Vegetable plants are considered “heavy feeders.” That means they soak up a lot of nutrients from the soil as they grow. To ensure the soil isn’t depleted of nutrients and your crops are getting everything they need, you’ll have to apply fertilizer regularly. Use a formula made specifically for vegetables—it will have just the right ratio of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other beneficial nutrients to help your plants grow strong and healthy. We recommend Espoma Tomato Tone or Jack's Tomato Feed. Make sure you follow the fertilizer directions closely–don’t go overboard and add more than you need. Too much can make your plants grow too fast, resulting in weak, limp growth and lackluster crops.

Know the Signs of Crop Disease

Different diseases affect different vegetables. While many fungal issues are easy to treat, you can’t kill viral plant diseases, and the only way to prevent them is through crop rotation. If Dr. Google isn’t helping you identify the problem, you’re welcome to snap a photo or bring a leaf cutting in a sealed plastic bag. We can help you figure out which vegetable disease is affecting your plants and create a plan of attack so you can treat them.

Wallace's Garden Center-Basic Crop Maintenance as Your Vegetable Plants Grow-checking crop foliageStay on the Lookout for Crop Pests

Sometimes bugs like to munch on our crops—and really, can you blame them? They’re pretty tasty! However, pest damage is obviously detrimental to your plants, and the earlier you catch them, the easier they are to beat. If you notice one or two bugs crawling around your plants, it isn’t an issue, and predatory insects like ladybugs are likely to eat them up. However, if you’ve got a full-blown infestation, a natural insecticide like neem oil spray or insecticidal soap should help clear up the issue.

Train Your Vining Crops

Vining vegetables like cucumbers, tomatoes, and pole beans need structural support to stay upright. Trellises, stakes, and tomato cages are usually the go-to, and as your plants grow, you’ll need to help them work their way around the structure. Gently wrap vines around their supports as they grow—it’s easier to do this while they’re young and flexible because they tend to stiffen up as they age.

Wallace's Garden Center-Basic Crop Maintenance as Your Vegetable Plants Grow-watering vegetable gardenKeep Your Crop Watering Consistent

Consistent watering is so important—especially with thin-skinned vegetables like tomatoes! Inconsistent watering can stress out your plants, making them more vulnerable to pest and disease issues, and limiting their nutrient uptake. It can also lead to fruit splitting, which doesn’t ruin your crops, per se, but is a bit unsightly. We recommend watering early in the morning while the soil is still cool. Container-grown crops may need to be watered every day from June to August when temperatures are especially high. Crops in the garden bed need watering slightly less often because their soil and moisture reservoir is so much bigger. Spreading mulch across the soil will buy you more time between watering because it blocks the sun from heating the soil and evaporating the moisture. If you have any questions about vegetable plant maintenance, drop into Wallace’s Garden Center, and we’ll be happy to help!
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