l Gather your gardening tools: a hoe, gardening gloves, a spade or spading fork, a steel bow rake, a trowel, a wheelbarrow, a garden hose long enough to water all parts of the garden and a wide-brimmed hat.
l Most vegetable plants need good drainage and at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. Choose your plot accordingly.
l Test the soil to figure out what it needs before you plant – rototilling, organic fertilizer matter, planter boxes. Visit your local nursery for recommendations.
l The best method for success with seeds can be found on the seed package. Select transplants that are about as tall as they are wide, dark green in color, vigorously growing, and free of spots or lesions on the leaves. I prefer to buy organic transplants to get ahead which you can find at your local farmer's markets or nurseries.
l Water your garden if you get less than one inch of rain a week. It's ok to water during the day as vegetable plants prefer this to the evening.
l Add mulch around your plants to control weeds, prevent moisture loss, and discourage pests. We also add chicken wire around the planter box to prevent cats or rodents from digging up the area.
l Thinning your plants will increase fruit growth. Pull off dead leaves and branches.
l Weed early and often. When you see a weed, immediately pull it up by the roots.
l Use weed and pest control chemicals wisely, remembering that pesticides kill the good bugs along with the bad bugs. Always follow package directions carefully. I prefer to use organic pest control spray and sometimes even spray the outer planter box. Some people get snails in their garden so you may want to consider a snail deterrent as well.