Expert Advice for Starting Your Perfect Vegetable Garden This Spring
Michael Grenadier, owner and manager at Windy Farm Garden Center in Yonkers, offers his advice for digging in.
Seeds or plants? Because seeds can be tricky, Grenadier recommends starting with plants. “When we install vegetable gardens for customers, we like to use the plants that are coming from a local grower,” he says.
Timing: Don’t think about putting seeds or plants in the ground until there is no fear of frost. “Mother’s Day is a good time for planting tomatoes or other plants that could die if it gets cold,” says Grenadier. “Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and peas can go in a bit earlier.”
What to plant? Dabbling is fun, says Grenadier. “There is no one variety that is best. Cherry tomatoes are easy to grow with kids; carrots start from seeds, so you just plant them in the ground and let them grow; peas tend to explode; while pumpkins take a while to start moving.”
Where to plant? “If you have a lot of animals that are going to eat the product, a raised bed with netting around it can help,” he says. (To keep away smaller pests like insects, he recommends planting marigolds around veggies.)
Soil choice: Grenadier recommends a soil rich in nitrogen. “For winter, we’ll plant clover on top of the soil, which is high in nitrogen,” he explains. “In the springtime, we shovel the clover into the soil. You may also want to use cow manure, in dehydrated or compost form,” as a fertilizer.
Mulch: Grenadier suggests “a triple-shredded, hard-wood mulch — nothing baked with a color — to keep weeds to a minimum. It will also help absorb water for the surrounding plants.”