Q: I just moved into a new house and would like to plant a vegetable garden. Any tips?
Courtney M., Atascadero
A: Perfect timing! The UC Master Gardeners are having a free workshop on how to prepare for and design a vegetable garden. Did you know it is best to create your rows to run north to south to avoid shading any of your plants?
The workshop will also include a discussion on how to prepare your vegetable beds and the best vegetables to choose for your location. There are spring and summer vegetable plants that will grow well in the South County but may not be well-suited to handle the heat in the North County.
Soil, as with any other planting endeavor, is a key element in vegetable gardens. Without a good foundation of healthy soil, your plants may perform poorly throughout the growing season.
When should you fertilize? What can you use and how much should you use? Too much fertilizer not only runs the risk of leaching into our local waterways, but it can also burn your plants or cause so much new foliage to sprout that fruiting will be delayed.
Do you want to use raised beds or try growing vegetables in straw hay bales? Or maybe try dry farming techniques that use methods of soil preparation that do not require irrigation during the summer months. All of these subjects and more will be discussed at the April workshop.
If you want to know more about vegetable gardening techniques, join us at the UC Master Gardener Advice to Grow By workshop from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Garden of the Seven Sisters, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. Visit http://ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo/ to register.
Then stay for the plant sale! Get a head start on your spring garden and pick up some vegetables or landscape plants after the workshop. The UC Master Gardeners plant sale will run from noon to 2 p.m. Master Gardeners will be available to help you select the right plant for the right place in your landscape or vegetable garden.
Tami Reece is a UC Master Gardener.
Have a gardening question?
Informative gardening workshops are held the third Saturday of every month, 10 a.m. to noon, at 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. Garden docents are available after the workshop until 1 p.m. To request a tour of the garden, call 805-781-5939.