• 73°

Gardening in the time of coronavirus: Start small if this is your first time

By Amy-Lynn Albertson

Rowan County Extension Director

Spring is here, and we have to stay home, so now is a great time to start a garden.  You don’t need a considerable amount of space to have a garden.

The best advice I can give first-time gardeners is to start small.  It’s easy to get carried away at the garden center and buy too many plants or seeds.  Remember, all those little plants will get big and need water throughout the summer.

Container or patio gardening is one of my favorite ways to garden.  Many vegetables can be grown in containers. For example, enough lettuce for a salad can be grown in a 12-inch pot on the back deck. Add a few radishes and carrots,  for spice and sweetness, and you have a good start on a delicious salad. Some easy vegetables to grow and be successful are squash and zucchini or cherry tomatoes.  One cherry/grape tomato plant can produce a tremendous amount of fruit, and they are fun to eat

Success, however, takes more than just a place to grow the vegetables. They need sunlight, water, air, soil, fertilizer, and care.

Most vegetables need at least eight hours of direct sunlight.   Plants that we grow for their fruit, including tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and okra, need a least eight hours and do better with ten hours of sunlight.  Where most gardens fail is with water.  Water makes up 90 percent of a plant’s weight.  You must locate your garden near a water supply so you can water adequately.  Hauling buckets of water across the yard or dragging hoses hundreds of feet every few days makes taking care of your garden a burden.

If you are growing your garden in containers, you will need to water every other day at the beginning of the season and as much as twice a day later on in the summer.  In the ground, vegetables will need one inch of water per week.  Water the soil, not the leaves of the plant.  Many diseases are spread by water splashing on the leaves.  Overwatering can also lead to insect and disease problems as well as washing nutrients away.

Pull weeds as soon as you see them, and remove any dead or dying plants from the garden.  Tall plants like tomatoes will need support with a trellis, stake, or tepee.  Harvest your vegetables when they are fully ripe for the best flavor.

Take notes about your garden throughout the season in a journal.  This is one of the best ways to really grow as a gardener.  Record how individual plants do in your garden and what worked well and what didn’t.  Your journal can be as simple as a spiral notebook, just as long as there is room for planning, drawing, and making notes.

For more information about gardening or other horticultural topics, contact the Rowan County Extension Center at 704-216-8970 or http://rowan.ces.ncsu.edu.

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post



College baseball: Top-seeded Arkansas routs NC State 21-2


Teacher accused of assaulting at-risk teen at New London military-style school


NC court: Students can use constitution to fight bullying


Vaccine surplus grows as expiration dates loom


Justice Department will review restrictive voting laws in Republican-controlled states


Wake Forest adding Ole Miss graduate transfer Khadim Sy to basketball squad


Gov. Roy Cooper appoints new Rowan County Superior Court judge


Sheriff’s Office: Gold Hill woman likely killed during break-in


Fatal car crash turns into homicide investigation


62-year-old man killed in Wednesday murder


Solar farm plans in Gold Hill met by resident concerns

High School

High school tennis: Salisbury’s Campion/Wymbs, Carson’s Perry/Conrad claim doubles titles


Quotes of the week


Local lawmakers weigh in on state budget process, potential for Medicaid expansion


Salisbury-Rowan NAACP President Gemale Black discusses meeting with Department of Justice, calls for action


School staff members to receive payments from unprecedented RSS bonus package June 23


Senators eye $579 billion in new infrastructure spending as part of $1 trillion plan


Veto likely for state bill on abortion limits


Wealthiest nations expected to pledge 1B vaccine doses for world

High School

High school baseball: Raiders win first conference tourney in 18 years


North Carolina Senate gives final OK to $2B tax-cut plan


Gov. Cooper visits Knox Middle School teacher, gives TikTok a try


Salisbury Police officer dies after contracting COVID-19


NC to give out $1 million each to 4 vaccinated residents