Don’t try to garden in caliche’! If you have an impermeable layer near the surface, build raised beds and fill them with a mixture of native soil and bagged organic material like Paydirt™ Planting Mix.
When locating your vegetable bed, choose a spot with good air circulation. Avoid excessively windy areas or reflective heat sources like south or west facing walls.
Use the right fertilizers for what you’re trying to grow. Leaf crops need lots of nitrogen; fruit crops like peppers and tomatoes need less nitrogen and more phosphorus and potassium. Dr. Q’s Vegetable and Tomato Food is excellent, as well as our Earthworm Castings.
Surface mulches help prevent weeds, conserve water and cool plant roots. Shredded Cedar Bark repels insects! Use them generously.
Most pests can be controlled by hand and sprays of water from the hose. The biggest pests in warm weather vegetable gardens besides aphids are caterpillars, cabbage loopers and horn worms. These can be safely controlled with Bio-Worm Killer® or an equivalent bacillus thuringensis (BT) product. Be conservative in applying chemicals. Use the right ones, and ALWAYS FOLLOW LABEL DIRECTIONS.
If you want to start your own seedlings instead of purchasing transplants, add a 6 to 10 week lead-time depending on variety. For example, if you want tomatoes, you should start them indoors in mid January to have them ready for a late March planting.
For a list of warm weather vegetable, check out Star Note #205.