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Vegetable Garden Maintenance

The Martha Stewart Show, April 2008

Eating freshly picked vegetables throughout the season is one of summer's greatest gifts. But achieving a successful garden takes much planning and strategy. There are so many things to consider -- choosing which vegetables to plant, deciding where to place them in your garden -- to make sure your soil is healthy. Once that is all figured out and your garden is planted, your work has just begun. Here are some maintenance tips that one of Martha's gardeners, Erica Hanson, uses to make sure the garden is a success.

1. Maintain crops by staking when necessary, feeding, and watering -- the basic things that plants need to produce a good harvest.

2. Use an organic approach to prevent potato beetles from feeding on your foliage -- hill up the plants with salt marsh hay. This will disguise the plant and hopefully divert beetles from your potato crop.

3. Use beautiful black birch branches called pea brush to provide structure for your pea plants. With a twiggy skeletal structure that allows the pea plants to kind of climb up and through the branches, black birch allows the pea plant to naturally anchor themselves to the branches, positioning perfectly for picking when the time is right.

4. Because the tomato plant is essentially a vine, be sure that it has secure support. You can build tomato tripods out of 8-foot-long bamboo stakes -- attach a bamboo twine from the top to a landscape pin and push it into the base of the bamboo stake to make sure that its taut, straight, and has enough tension to hold up the tomato plant.

Comments (13)

  • 5 Nov, 2012

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  • 5 Nov, 2012

    also check my garden for more info: landscape design sydney

  • 5 Nov, 2012

    I also begin to think about the awesome period and need to purchase the plant seeds that we will begin soon for the drop plants. Any tips or help would be great. thanks

  • 14 May, 2012

    The information you have discussed over here is really needed to maintain a kitchen. I really liked it and want to know more about strawberry bushes.
    Landscape Architect Sydney

  • 1 Mar, 2009

    I'm starting a potted vegetable garden, and of course I want the containers to be food safe. I'm having difficulty finding information on this subject. What about galvanized tubs - do they leech anything into the soil that would be UNsafe? What about clay pots? What about other suggestions??? Will appreciate any help.

  • 19 Feb, 2009

    To the gardener plagued by squirrels - Gardners.com has raised beds and mesh covers that fit over them. We had so many strawberrys last summer we couldn't eat them all. The birds and squirrels sit on top and look at the berries. We have the 3x3 raised bed with the 3x3 cover. Will also keep out pets. They also have taller covers for other plants also 3x3 and maybe 4ft tall.

  • 3 Jul, 2008

    I'm having a problem w/one of my tomato plants. The weather has been 110 degrees lately, my brand new fruit apparently have "blossom end rot". Is there a cure?

  • 16 Jun, 2008

    I also love the idea for the tomato tripods! Where can I find the bamboo poles and the plastic clips?

  • 5 Jun, 2008

    Does anyone have any great organic ideas for keeping pests and animals out of a vegetable garden? We have been gardening out of large planters that we have set up on our deck rails but it seems to still attract digger bees and squirrels. Every time we have a rip strawberry, before I can even pick it, I come home to it having me mawled by a squirrel. Any suggestions?

  • 10 Apr, 2008

    The birch branches used were cuttings from the yard.
    For the bamboo poles -- space the tomatoes normally, about 18-inches to 2-feet apart, and attach the main stem.

  • 10 Apr, 2008

    I love the bamboo tripods for tomatoes, where can I find those plastic adjustable clips to attach plants to bamboo? Thanks

  • 8 Apr, 2008

    I love the idea for tomatoes using the bamboo poles. Do you put plants at each pole? And with all the branches that a tomato has, do you attach all branches to the pole of just the main branch? Thanks.

  • 8 Apr, 2008

    I love this idea! Where do you find the black birch branches?