Turning your Flagstaff Landscape into a Lush, Nurturing One
Spring is here and if you are planning on a vegetable garden this season – now is the time to start! Turn that black thumb in to a green one…
- Type/Timing: Our short growing season in Flagstaff makes “cool season vegetables” the easiest to grow (spinach, ALL leaf lettuce, cabbage, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, beets, carrots, radishes, pees, beets, parsnips, onions, garlic). These should be planted from early April to mid-May.
- Location: Find a space that has plenty of direct sunlight. If you want to extend your growing season you can find a place that offers some afternoon shade.
- Composite Soil: Your soil needs to be composed of the proper amounts of sand, soil, and organic materials to ensure that your plants have the necessary nutrients and water to grow. Sand is necessary for drainage, soil is necessary for the roots to grab hold, and organic material is necessary to keep the soil rich with nutrients to feed your plants. I like to add fish emulsion as an organic matter to keep the soil nutrient rich. The fish emulsion is eaten by the soil bacteria/ fungus’ and the bacteria release the fresh nutrients back into the soil.
- Planting: You can either seed directly into the ground or purchase early starter plants at your local nursery. I like to seed directly. Mark the placement of a row within your garden and then make a furrow at the correct depth along the row. Check out your seed packet instructions for specific planting instructions. Plant your seeds in groups of three (because we never can tell how prolific our seeds may be) and plant each group 3 inches apart (depending on seed/ plant type). Cover the seeds with fine soil and firm them in. When the plants have developed their second set of leaves thin them out to avoid overcrowding.
- Irrigation: Irrigation is key with new seedlings. In order for the seeds to germinate they must remain moist. Set up a spray system valve with a timer and water them several times a day. As the plant grows, change from spray to flood.
Watching a plant grow from a seemingly lifeless seed into a healthy, productive plant is one of gardening’s greatest pleasures, provinding a great sense of accomplishment, and unmatched nutrients! Happy Gardening!
Sean Andersen, Mountainscapers Landscaping