Where to Start?
Choose a very sunny location, 10 hours or more of direct sun per day.
Plant in good soil.
Visit your garden daily to check on water needs and to check on bugs.
Harvest when your crop is ready. Don’t delay.
If your seeds are not sprouting, replant.
In Colorado Springs do not plant on mounds. Plant in a small trench (1 inch deep or so).
Choose a sunny, level site. In Colorado Springs it is necessary for your garden to get full sun for 10 hours a day (8 hours is the absolute minimum) and the more the better.
If it is a new garden and you want to garden right away you will need to improve the soil. In our “new” garden beds, we have been adding 6 cubic feet of organic cotton burr mulch and 5 cubic feet of well rotted cow manure for every 50 square feet of garden space. Rake, dig or till this deeply into the soil. You can get cotton burr mulch in 2 or 3 cubic feet bales and cow manure in a 1 cubic foot bag at your local garden shop.
Also buy a small bag of blood meal and bone meal at the same places as mentioned above. Add about a cup of blood meal and a cup of bone meal for every 10 square feet of garden. Rake, dig or till this into the soil as well.
Plant your seeds in wide rows, 3-4 feet wide. Follow the instructions on the package and plant in shallow trenches. In this dry climate it will help to retain moisture. There is no need to plant your squash on mounds. For best results plant in shallow depressions in the soil. Squash and cucumbers will do better if seeded directly in the soil rather than planted from transplants.
If you buy veggie plants such as tomato, pepper, eggplants etc. harden them off outside before planting. This means expose your plants to the sun for 1 hour the first day then place in the shade, 2 hours the next and three the next. Be sure they do not dry out. Now they are ready to plant in the garden.
Check your garden daily to see if it needs water. In the very hot summer it may need water daily or every other day. Never let your garden go into drought stress. It is better to water deeply and less often than to water just the surface and more frequently. Check to see if the water is going deep into your soil by sticking your finger into the soil as deeply as you can. Your finger should feel cool and moist. Remember it is the roots that need the water. Larry uses a wand type hand sprinkler. It is gentle on the plants.
Fertilize once monthly with fish emulsion and seaweed extract (sold at your local garden shops) as per instructions. Also each month sprinkle a handfull of well rotted cow manure around your plants. Scratch it into the top 2-3 inches of soil.
Harvest your garden when the beans are ripe, the zucchini are small and the lettuce, spinach and other greens are young and tender. When your veggies get old on the vine they will slow down or stop producing. It is amazing how many more squash, green beans and cucumbers you will get if you harvest often.
If your seeds don’t sprout in the expected time, replant. If bad weather such as hail gets the better of your crop, replant.
When you harvest a carrot, plant another seed in its place.