Whether you’re a new or experienced vegetable gardener, springtime marks the start of planning your gardening plot. Virginia Cooperative Extension horticulture agent Adria Bordas offers the following tips to help gardeners get started at home.

-Choose a location for your garden bed. Make sure you find the sunniest spot with at least 6-8 hours of sun. Track the path of the sun and plant the garden beds north-south, this way the sun will move over the beds and reach both sides. Start out small with a few veggies and herb containers if you don’t have yard space.

-Next decide whether to use raised beds, and if so, how to make them. Container gardening will allow you to enjoy many ornamental and food supplying plants on patios, decks, rooftops, or areas that need a living component to enhance the appeal of an area.

-Need help deciding how much and what to plant? Easy beginner-friendly vegetables include peas, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and onion sets. Virginia’s home garden vegetable guide serves as a good reference to understand preferred growing conditions and tolerance to hot and cold temperature extremes.

-Add mulch to your home garden to cover the soil around plants with a protective material to reduce weed growth and to maintain uniform moisture conditions. Mulch also helps reduce splashing of soil onto fruit, leaving fruits cleaner and helping to prevent the spread of disease.

-When purchasing seeds, be mindful of how much you really need for your gardening space. Virginia’s Home vegetable garden planting guide can help you plan when and calculate how much you need to plant.

-Plant cool weather spring veggies, such as onion sets, peas, carrots, leafy greens, lettuce, cauliflower/broccoli, and potatoes, between mid-March and mid to late April and May - when nighttime temps are below 50 degrees.

-Plant warmer season veggies, such as peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, squash, cucumber, and sweet potatoes, after the last-frost when nighttime temps will be above 50 degrees solid for 10 days.

About Bordas

Adria Bordas is a senior extension horticulture agent with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, which is an educational outreach program of Virginia's land-grant universities: Virginia Tech and Virginia State University, and a part of the National Institute for Food and Agriculture, an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture. The program strives to improve the well-being of Virginians and increase producers' profitability through programs that help put research-based knowledge to work in people's lives.

To secure an interview with Bordas, contact Shannon Andrea in the media relations office at sandrea@vt.edu or 703-399-9494.


Share this story