April 19, 2011

Growing a vegetable garden

Gardeners have large variety to choose from.

At D&R Fruit Market, Manager Neil Stewart has noticed an increase in the number of people opting to plant vegetable gardens.

“With the price of food — more and more people are getting started each year,” he said.

The options for vegetable and fruit gardens are almost limitless.

Many businesses are offering large varieties for Cass County residents to choose from.

At Chuck’s Towers and Flowers, customers can choose among broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, collard greens, cantaloupe, watermelon, 11 varieties of peppers, four varieties of cabbage, 18 varieties of tomatoes, three types of squash and three varieties of cucumbers.

Stewart said D&R Fruit Market already had several varieties available and expects more to arrive.

“I can’t think of anything we don’t have that someone may be looking for,” he said. “We have a full line of garden vegetables.”

While Chuck’s Towers and Flowers owner Chuck Deitz recommends people wait until after the last good frost to plant vegetables, he said the cutoff date for planting varies.

“It all depends on the time it takes to mature,” he said. “Most vegetables take between 60 to 90 days to get a crop.”

He said some gardeners prefer to stagger vegetables such as beans. If the gardeners want fresh beans during the summer, they will plant one crop during the first of May, a second during the third week of May and a third during the first week of June.

For the most part, growing a vegetable garden is pretty simple, though Stewart added that a successful garden could take some time to maintain. Preparing the soil is key.

According to Deitz, another main requirement is keeping the weeds out of the garden.

“If you keep your garden clean, it will do much better,” said Deitz. “If we have a dry spell, you need to water, too.”

• Denise Massie is a staff writer at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5151 or

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