Though we’re technically still 4 months away from the official start to summer, it’s not too early to begin thinking about your summer vegetable garden!
Tomatoes, okra, peppers, cabbage… I’m already dreaming about all the delicious meals I’ll create with our fresh veggies this summer! Maybe you are, too!
Summer is one of my favorite seasons at Stoney Creek Farm. With our rental gardens and visitors enjoying the fresh produce from our U-Pick Gardens, there’s always something going on at the farm. I just love it!
I want to offer you a few need-to-know tips for getting started with your summer veggie garden!
We covered in an email a couple weeks back about the importance of testing your soil before beginning your garden. You can read those tips on how to get your soil tested here on the Stoney Creek Farm blog.
Planting seeds correctly isn’t difficult, but it does require more than just covering them with dirt and sprinkling them with water.
Your seed packets will provide you with soil depth information. Depth to sow on the package means how far you should bury your seed in the soil. I always recommend using a ruler for the first few seeds you sow. You can place the seed on top of the soil and then use the ruler to push down the seed to its proper depth.
Each plant’s sowing depth will be different. Smaller seeds will usually need little soil depth, while larger seeds can go deeper. If a seed is sown too far into the soil, it may not germinate properly, deteriorating before it reaches the surface.
Seeds will need mildly warm temperatures to germinate, usually between 65 – 80 degrees. Starting your seedlings indoors near a windowsill should do the trick. Or if you’re more ambitious, you can build a temporary greenhouse like we do!
You can read more about that in my blog post: How to Plant Seeds for the Garden.
Your newly-sprouted veggie plants will be ready to move outside when the temperature is right, usually after the last frost date. For Middle Tennessee, this is April 15.
You can check the USDA Plant Hardiness Map to determine the best time to transplant depending on your zone.
Sunlight & Water
One of the top mistakes made by new gardeners is overwatering their plants!
Your garden needs 1 inch of rainwater per week—this is about equal to a quart mason jar of water. The best way to track this is by keeping a rain gauge and monitoring how much rain you are getting each week. If it’s less than an inch, you can supplement that with additional watering. But don’t drench your plants with a quart of water once a week! Watering needs to be distributed over the course of the week.
When it comes to water, we use rainwater capture techniques here at Stoney Creek Farm. You can learn about this easy and sustainable method to water your own plants while saving money on your water bill in our Gardening (Without Pesticides) 101 class on April 6! (Check out more info about this class at the bottom of this email.)
Your garden should be in an open area that allows it to soak in the sunshine for an average of 8 hours a day.
Top Ways to Organize & Protect Your Garden from Animals
I love the creativity of our garden renters! I’ve highlighted some of my favorite ways they’ve designed their gardens and protected it from animals in this video.
Be sure to check out and subscribe to the Stoney Creek Farm Youtube Channel for more how-to videos!
Garden Rentals at Stoney Creek Farm
Don’t let living in an apartment or renting a home keep you from enjoying fresh produce from your very own garden! With our Garden Rentals at Stoney Creek Farm, you can experience the joy that comes from working with your hands to cultivate your own delicious veggies and herbs.
We have several garden plot sizes available! You can learn more here.
We’ll also have our U-Pick Gardens available this summer for those who would rather enjoy fresh produce without the gardening part! We’ll announce those U-Pick dates this summer, so be on the lookout!
Gardening 101 Class
Join us April 6 for one of my favorite classes I offer each year: Gardening (Without Pesticides) 101 Class!
We’ll empower you to grow your own healthy food by teaching you:
- Best Gardening Tools
- Soil Testing & Soil Health
- How to Attract Beneficial Insects
- Germination Temperatures & Success Rates
- Raised Bed Garden Vs. Ground
- …and everything else you need for gardening success!
You can reserve your spot in class here.
And if you can’t make it to the class, I offer gardening consultations! I’ll work with you one-on-one to help you plan and design your own summer garden.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 615-591-0015 if interested in a garden consultation.
4th Annual Sustainable Farm Conference
We’re a month and a half away from our 4th Annual Sustainable Farm Conference!
We can’t wait to gather with a group of people like you who are passionate about sustainable living. We’ll share with you our 14 years of farming experience and our own business plan to inspire you to live out your own sustainable living dreams.
You can see the full list of topics & itinerary here.
If you know someone who would love to attend this conference, we also offer online gift certificates!