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Vegetable Gardening Checklist


Print out our Vegetable Gardening Checklist and take it to your local Southern States dealer to make sure you have everything you need to get started. Don't forget to ask about garden soil testing services!

Planning and products for successful vegetable gardening
Planning - Start planning your garden in January.
Choose your location - Pick out a garden spot.
Soil Testing - Have the soil in the garden tested to see what nutrients may need to be added. For tips on how to take a soil sample, see our soil testing information.
Vegetables - Decide on what types of vegetables you want to plant and how much of each. Use our handy Gardening Grid to help detemine your needs.
Purchase seeds - See our Vegetable Seed Catalog for more information
Start seeds indoors so plants can be transplanted to the garden at appropriate times. See our article on Starting Seeds Indoors. You may also need to check the last frost dates for your area on the USDA Climate Hardiness Zones Map.
Till the garden - Till the garden when the soil is not frozen or too wet. Till in compost, fertilizer and lime if needed according to results of soil testing.
Mark off the rows. Use string tied to small stakes placed at the ends of each row as a guide to keep the rows straight. Make sure enough space is left between rows so that a tiller or hoe can be used to help control the weeds and grass between rows of vegetables.

People with larger gardens may want to put Garden Mulch Plastic down on rows for certain plants such as squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, eggplants, watermelons, cantaloupes, pumpkins – this will help to control weeds and grass
Plant the seeds.

Planting Times
February March April May (after last chance of frost) May - June
Garden Peas Beets, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Salad Greens, Lettuce, Onions
Irish Potatoes, Radishes
Beans (Pole & Snaps), Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sweet Corn Blackeye Peas, Cantaloupe, Squash, Butterbeans, Cucumbers, Eggplant, Okra, Peppers, Tomatoes, Watermelons, Sweet Potatoes Pumpkins
Garden Weeds and Thinning - You will need to weed your rows of vegetables to control weeds and grass frequently as the weed seeds sprout. You may also find you will need to thin some of your plants once they have 2 pairs of leaves if they were planted too closely together. If plants are to close together they will not grow to their proper sizes and will not produce the best quality vegetables. You may find a Garden Hoe helpful for weeding.
Garden Disease & Pest Control - Plants will need to be checked for insects during the entire gardening season/process. You may find you will need to spray or dust them to keep insects under control. These are few of the products available. Always read the label to determine if product can be used on the vegetable(s) you need to treat, what the reentry period is and the wait time before vegetables can be harvested. There are a variety of sprays and dusts from concentrate to ready to use to organic products available for the garden. Below is a sample. There are also chemicals to help with diseases such as tomato blossom end rot, powdery mildew, etc.
To apply chemicals needed for the garden you will need a sprayer(s) and safety equipment. The size of sprayer you will need depends on the size of your garden.
Apply fertilizer - Fertilizer will need to be applied to vegetables & plants once they are above the soil. Fertilizer should not touch the plants directly as this will burn them. It is best to put fertilizer beside plants – this will have to be done by hand. You may need to fertilizer some plants more than one time during the growing season.
Garden Watering - If the weather turns dry, you will need to be able to water your garden. This should not be done during the hottest part of the day as this could possibly ruin the plants and vegetables. Do not enter the garden directly after watering it. Touching and moving the plants while they are still wet from watering can increase the chance of mildew.
Supports - Tomato plants do much better if they are supported by a tomato cage or if you stake and tie them. This will keep the tomatoes from touching the ground, which will help prevent rotting. Also, the plants will last longer if they are supported, and will not break under the weight of the tomatoes.
Harvesting Supplies - Do not harvest vegetables during the middle/hottest part of the day. The vegetables become soft then and anywhere you touch them you will bruise them.  It is much better to harvest early morning and late afternoon/evening. You may find it helpful to have pruners to use to harvest such vegetables as eggplants and zucchini squash. For details on what to look for as each vegetable variety ripens, see our Harvest Times Chart provided by UGA Extension. strong>Harvest Times by Month
April May June July
Peas Beets, Carrots, Radish, Cabbage, Salad Greens, Lettuce, Broccoli, Cauliflower Sweet Corn, Snaps, Squash, Cucumbers, Peppers, Eggplants Tomatoes, Butterbeans, Watermelons, Cantaloupe, Irish Potatoes, Sweet Corn, Snaps, Squash, Cucumbers, Peppers, Eggplants
August September October
Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Butterbeans, Watermelons, Cantaloupe, Irish Potatoes, Sweet Corn, Snaps, Squash, Cucumbers, Peppers, Eggplants Sweet Potatoes, Tomatoes, Butterbeans, Watermelons, Cantaloupe, Irish Potatoes, Sweet Corn, Snaps, Squash, Cucumbers, Peppers, Eggplants Pumpkins
Preserving & Home Canning - Once your vegetables are ready to harvest you can use them fresh. If you have too much to use at one time, you can preserve them for use in the fall/winter/early spring. Vegetables can be canned (pressure cooker or water bath) and frozen.

Vegetables that freeze well are:  broccoli, sweet corn, peppers, butterbeans, blackeye peas and garden peas.

Vegetables that must preserved with a pressure cooker are snaps, beets, squash and tomatoes. Cucumbers (pickle) can be preserved with a water bath. See our article series on home canning for more information and a video demonstration of the water bath caning method.

To have a garden that will provide produce all summer long it is best to continually plant small amounts of vegetables, fruits & flowers throughout the growing season.

To find out the latest date a vegetable can be planted use the Maturity Date listed on seed packs and back up from that date to find the plant date.

If you live in an apartment, town house, or have a small yard you can still have a vegetable garden. Container gardening is very popular and can be done on a deck/patio or porch and you will still be able to enjoy fresh vegetables. Many people refer to this method as "Urban Farming." The easy part is, the same above principles will apply just on a much smaller scale.


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