My mother and I are interested in starting a veggie garden and organic fruit garden at her house in prospect. Is this possible? If so, how in the world do we go about doing it?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Christopher in Kentucky: Vegetables and fruits can be grown in any garden as long as the space receives a minimum of six hours of direct sun and has nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. Your only limitations in terms of what you can grow is how much space you have. Starting a vegetable garden is very exciting and this is the time of year to prepare the soil for planting. Preparing the soil is an important first step in any successful vegetable garden. If you have not already chosen a space for the veggies/fruit to grow, now is the time to do so. Ideally this space would be south-facing so that it will receive plenty of sunshine. The soil should be fertile and well-drained. The pH should be between 6.2 and 6.8. If you have not had your soil tested, you can do this through the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Service. The results will indicate if you need to amend your soil with any fertilizer or lime. Each crop has its own planting season, so depending on what you and your family want to grow you could start planting the cool-season crops in the early spring. Broccoli, cauliflower, green onions, and lettuce/greens are all considered cool-season crops. Tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and many others need to wait until May to plant them in the garden. You can always get a head start and start your seeds indoors and then transplant them into the garden later. The following publication is available to home gardeners from the Extension Service. It has planting information on home vegetable gardening in Kentucky: www.ca.uky.edu/agc/pubs/id/id128/id128.pdf. Fruits are also fun to grow in the garden and many of them can be grown year-round. Apples, pears, blueberries, raspberries, figs, and strawberries are just a few that will give us fruit each year. www.uky.edu/Ag/Horticulture/homefruitrec.pdf is another publication on growing fruit for the home gardener. Some fruits like blueberries have specific pH requirements and so having your soil tested is a good idea. If you are gardening on a new construction site you will likely need to amend the soil to add nutrients after you have killed off the grass. Getting the garden ready to plant can be a big job but the results are well worth the effort.