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January 29, 2014

Taylor's Tip for January

With winter on its way out, it is time to start thinking about summer gardens. If you haven’t already, draw a map of your garden space. Remember to take into account the 5 S’s and W (sun, shade, structure, space, soil and water). Once you've labeled all of these on your garden map, let the fun of deciding what to plant begin!

One easy vegetable to grow is zucchini. It grows vigorously and produces high vegetable yields. Keep in mind that each zucchini vine can grow as long as 5-6 feet. If you have a small space, you may want to consider trellising the vines to grow upward. 

Another great vegetable to grow in your summer garden is beans. They germinate quickly and they taste wonderful! Make sure to read your seed packet carefully to see if you have pole beans or bush beans. Pole beans require trellises to climb, while bush beans do not. Both offer great varieties and can accommodate a small space if you plan ahead.

Finally, you can’t have a summer garden without tomatoes! While they are fairly easy to grow it is important to take into account their size. Determinate tomato varieties will only grow until they are about 3-4 feet tall; while indeterminate varieties will grow continuously until killed by frost (around 6-12 feet tall). Make sure to read the seed packet labels to determine if you are buying determinate or indeterminate tomato seeds. If you need to trellis or use a tomato cage, put it around the plant while it is young. The longer you go without trellising, the more difficult it becomes.

All of these vegetables are great summer vegetables to grow, but ultimately when designing your own garden, always remember to plant what you like to eat. Why put the time and effort into growing something you really don’t like? That is why it so important to plan ahead. It not only allows you to properly space out your plants, but it gives you time to think about what has priority in your precious garden space.

As this month begins, it marks the end of my AmeriCorps VISTA service here at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services’ Demonstration Garden. For everyone I have met during my service, thank you. It has been a pleasure and joy spending the past year with you. I will miss you all. 

I wish you the best of luck in your gardening endeavors! 

Submitted by Taylor Kornman, AmeriCorps VISTA - Garden at Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services 

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