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Cultivate your own bounty of vegetables

(MS) — It only makes sense to turn a little patch of your property into a personal supply of organic food.

Quality and cost-control are the top reasons to do it — and avid gardeners will tell you that there is a special kind of joy in planting, growing, picking and serving the freshest produce possible.

Today, approximately 30 percent of residential homes in North America cultivate a vegetable patch and most will tell you that the growing season can be full of surprises. Sometimes, the winter will leave much more moisture in the ground than the year before, but other times, drought will hamper your harvest and so will heat, insects, weeds and plant disease.

“Insects and disease can be a serious problem when growing vegetables,” says Reinie Drygala, Products Manager for PureSpray Green, a leading name in innovative garden products. “If uncontrolled, they will destroy your prized collection of vegetables and flowers. The question is how do you effectively deal with these pests and still use a product that you can feel good about when it comes to your impact on the environment?

“Our researchers experimented tirelessly to produce a horticultural spray oil for year-round control of insects and disease,” Drygala continued. “The resulting PureSpray Green is an all-in-one formula for use in organic gardening and allows gardeners to feel good about spraying it on flowers, fruits, vegetables, shrubs and trees. The sister brand Clear Choice is also a breakthrough in herbicide technology for controlling weeds on lawns and walkways.”

Here are a few more quick tips to refresh your start-up skills in the vegetable patch:

* Clean up: Clear your patch by removing grass, rocks, or other debris.

* Till the soil: Add at least 6 centimetres of new vegetable garden soil to provide nutrients, improve drainage, and to promote strong root growth.

* Plant at the right time: Early season vegetables include broccoli, carrots, lettuce, peas, and spinach. By early June, you can plant the warm-weather vegetables like corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers.

* Prevent weeds: Put a layer of mulch around the plants

* Control pests and disease: keep an organic-approved spray handy for insect and disease control. Information at: www.todaysclearchoice.com.

* Water: Keep seedlings moist by watering regularly.

* Harvest: Your bounty should grow quickly from seedlings to a full harvest in less than 60 days.

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