Garden Care General Recommendations:

All Urbana plants were born in our greenhouse with non-GMO seed. Here are some guidelines to increase the chances of healthy plants and bountiful harvests. Eastern Essex County NJ is in Zone 7. Gardening success depends on a combination of many parameters (some out of your control) so continual management is key.

  1. Choose a garden location that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. The more sun the better especially for fruiting veggies. Leafy greens and herbs can get by on less sun. Use rich garden soil or compost. If possible install timed irrigation as this will be well worth it if July and August bring little rain. If you plan to have very early and late season hardy veggies like kale and cabbage, try to situate your grow bed perpendicular to a southern exposure. Use www.suncalc.org to see your orientation.

  2. Before you transplant, keep your seedlings in an outdoor area or cool indoor area that is protected from frost, wind, rain and too much direct sun for a couple of days to a week. This will “harden” or acclimate the plants to the new environment. Every day you can move the plants to increase their exposure to cool temps and direct sunlight.

  3. Do not overwater or underwater seedlings. Soil should be damp with some water weight but not soaked or very dry. Fertilizer is not yet necessary.

  4. Transplant on a partly cloudy, light wind day if possible. Fertilize your soil before transplanting. Space plants according to variety. Tomatoes should be at least 24” apart while basil / cilantro / leafy greens should be around 8-12” apart. Water around the base of plants not on their tops. Water lightly if soil is damp or heavily if dry.

  5. During the season, keep your garden well watered, weeded, and fertilized. If possible water under the foliage canopy as this helps to prevent blight (fungus); especially for tomato. Some veggies need to be caged, staked or trellised as they grow; ie. tomato, cucumber, pea, pole beans. Some gardens will need netting protection from deer and squirrels. Harvest your tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, peppers and peas often as this will encourage them to keep producing. If you have bug or blight issues there are many homemade soap / oil spray recipes online. Next season add soil amendments.

There are so many different schools of thought, methods and systems for gardening so do what fits your philosophy, lifestyle and location. Just keep growing and learning because it is deeply rewarding to connect with your food and nature!

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