Growing tips

Follow these guidelines to grow a great vegetable garden
Lauren Bonar Swezey and Jim McCausland

At planting time, every vegetable and flower seedling gets a sprinkling of controlled-release fertilizer. To maintain soil fertility, Kono digs in vast quantities of compost each year, supplemented with cow manure every third year.

Exposure. Some vegetables (tomatoes and peppers, for instance) need six to eight hours of midday sun for best production and flavor. Slightly shadier areas can be reserved for plants like arugula, beets, kale, and lettuce that grow well with a little less light.

Air circulation. To reduce the possibility of diseases, provide plenty of air circulation.

Soil. Most vegetables prefer well-drained soil enriched with plenty of organic compost. If your garden soil is heavy and poorly drained, plant in raised beds.

Irrigation. All crops need water to get established, but some need more than others as they mature. Plant tomatoes in an area where you can cut back on water as the fruit starts to ripen. Greens, on the other hand, need constantly moist soil.

Fertilizer. Use fish emulsion alone or in combination with a kelp-type fertilizer such as Maxicrop. Corn plants, which are heavy feeders, benefit from a side-dressing of dry organic fertilizer during the season.