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2 Ways to Start Your Summer Vegetable Garden Early

Alright! This is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens.com, today I have another exciting episode for

you guys as you can see I’m outside my local Home Depot Home Improvement Store. And I like

Home Depot for a few reasons: number one, they are all across the great nation here

and number 2, they provide you things and products that will allow you to grow food

at home. So, what we’re gonna specifically look at it today are the plant starts—why

I like to purchase them here, how I’m gonna purchase them here and get them planted out

in my garden early! Because we are here in March and also we’re gonna check out the

seeds cause I’ve heard they have a special deal right now on seeds—two packets for

the price of one which is definitely a good deal. So, anyways let’s head into the Home

Depot and check it out. All right so now we’re inside the Home Depot,

we’re gonna walk into the nursery and this is where they have all the plants—you know

one of the cool things about them is that all plants sold at Home Depot have a one year

plant guarantee. So, if the plant fails to perform or it doesn’t make it you can take

your money back. So, feel free to buy some plant starts early, plant them out in your

garden and if it gets another freeze guess what? Save your receipt get back to Home Depot

and say, “Hey this guy didn’t make it,” and exchange it for another one. So, you can

grow early trouble free, risk-free on Home Depot due to their plant guarantee that’s

what they get for selling these plants—these vegetable starts a little early in my opinion.

I think selling them early’s probably a good thing. You can also bring some of the

vegetable starts inside and grow them under lights for a period of time until it warms

up but what I’m gonna do today is I’m gonna pick out some vegetable starts today

and bring them home and plant them outside with a special device that I have that’s

gonna help allow me to plant outside even if we still have some cold weather. So Home

Depot has the Bonnie brand plants here, as you guys see there’s a whole big selection

of them, a whole bunch of different kinds of tomatoes, we got peppers on this side—I’m

growing some of these little onions starts here they’re already doing so good they’ve

been in about a month. Here are some of my favorite peppers! Let’s see my favorite

pepper that I grew last year is the oh—I like the “Yummy Snacking” although it

didn’t perform too well—my favorite pepper I grew last year I definitely recommend everyone

growing this one: the “Carmen” sweet pepper. They produced really well and they tasted

amazing too actually, quite good. But, the plants I’m gonna get early this year are

the zucchinis right here and it’s a $1.98 for a little plant here and in each little

pot you get three plants. I always encourage you guys—especially when you’re buying

them so expensive, for me $1.98 for one little pot’s real expensive—we’re gonna look

in here you know some of these guys have only two plants in the little pot and some have

three and I’m gonna try to find one that has four even and we’re gonna get that and

we’ll be able to subdivide these little plants here to have more plants in my garden

to grow more zucchinis. So, here’s the winner here we got this guy.

He has three nice little plants in this little planter that I will divide and I kind of like

that in this planter these guys are planted near the edges so it’ll be fairly easy to

unfurl and plant separately. Now, I’m really not gonna buy too many plants at Home Depot

cause they are a bit expensive: $3 for one pepper plant gets quite expensive. I’m gonna

wait and in the past years Home Depot has had sales on the Bonnie plants, sometimes

two for one sometimes you know a really good deal. So, I’m gonna wait just a little bit

longer until they go on sale cause I think $3 per plant’s kind of exorbitant in my

book. All right check it out now we’re in the

area for the seeds and they got a two for one seed deal, definitely the best time to

purchase your seeds at Home Depot when it’s two for one. Let’s check it out over here

they got the Ferry-Morse seeds that I like and check it out they got, “Buy One Get

One Free All Vegetable, Herb, and Seed Packs”. So, that means if you want “Asparagus Beans”

you get a two pack for $1.35 that’s like I don’t know, 68 cents each or whatever

and same with all these guys they’re all two for one. They’re definitely an amazing

deal, stock up on seeds now. You can even get some organic seeds and they have so many

different varieties of seeds look at all these different ones, man. I wanna encourage you

guys you know if you wanna grow some like zucchini or something don’t just get your

standard zucchini mix get some cool ones—look at that one it’s called the “Cocozelle

Zucchini” or get a “Dixie Hybrid Squash” or the “Grey Zucchini” I’ve grown that

one before. Definitely really cool man you know step out of your comfort zone and grow

some things you’ve never grew before and see what happens and that’s the fun of gardening

you’ll never know what’s gonna happen. It’s like a box of chocolates.

Now, besides the Ferry-Morse seeds many Home Depots sell many kinds of seeds and I would

encourage you guys to check those out as well. Some of the ones on the west coast sell these

guys here which I like a lot more and they should also be included in the seed deal,

you know buy one get one free and it’s actually a much better deal I’ve noticed cause the

packets actually weigh more and they have more seeds within them. So, here’s actually

one it’s “Heirloom Watercress” definitely like my watercress for sure. Oh, here’s

one that’s actually a rare one too and it’s “Jicama” so you don’t see these seeds

everyday and yeah they got all different kinds of seeds on this seed rack here, definitely

recommend the other brand seeds besides the Ferry-Morse as well.

All right now we’re back and we’re gonna divide these three little zucchinis and instead

of putting them in a raised bed—because the zucchini plants like they’ll get massive

and they’ll take a three foot by three foot area—I’m gonna put them in a pot so this

way they’ll grow out of the pot, they’ll have enough dirt in the pot for its root to

grow but then also they’re gonna hang over the pot like three feet so like one foot edge

hanging over the pot which should be totally fine. In addition—because we’re not past

the official frost date—we’re gonna do something special so that we can actually

grow them outside this time of year so it’s gonna be pretty cool. Anyways, first step

let’s go ahead and try to get this guy out of the pot. Now, while people recommend you

just plant the Jiffy pot—which is basically a peat pot—and the roots will go through

it I have that while roots will grow through the pot it will hinder the plant’s growth.

So, I always encourage you guys to rip off the peat pot. Because we are here in the early

season I don’t know if this guy’s gonna make it, I’m gonna try to save the peat

pot with the barcode so I can take this guy back if need should arise. So we’re gonna

try to be careful and get this guy out here without damaging the pot too much. Oh! There

we go, we got it out so now we’re gonna carefully divide these guys cause the roots

are all wrapped around so we’re gonna have to be really careful getting each these guys

out. All right we got them divided! Not the best job I ever did but hopefully they’ll

make it…they’ll have enough root mass left. First, let’s go for this guy what

we’re gonna do is just dig a little hole in here…super simple, super easy. Then we

got my special mixture, what I put in here is a mycorrhiza and I have some silica and

just sprinkle that in the hole there. Put this guy—now it’s very important when

planting the plants, plant them at the same depth they were buried to so like don’t

bury the stem anymore that it was and don’t bury it too shallow either. Bury it just right

like Goldilocks and the Three Bears like the porridge just right. All right, little man

there’s your new home hope you like it. All right we’re gonna plant the last two.

All right so as you guys can see I got all these three guys planted they’re looking

pretty good. Pretty confident on these two guys, I probably didn’t get too much root

ball on that guy so I’m not sure if he’s gonna make it but even if one makes it I’m

definitely doing good cause I’m ahead of the game cause once again I got three little

plant starts in that one little pot there. Now, the next thing is the big question for

every gardener, “John! When should I start my summer garden?” I always recommend do

not plant any plants out—summer crops—into your garden until you have reached the official

frost date, you know a date after the last official frost date and this varies for different

parts of the country. In general, in the western US it’s around April 1st sometimes a bit

earlier sometimes a bit later and the main gamble here is you want to try to get things

in as early as possible but have it not frost or even more importantly not get those plants

stressed out. Just cause you’re not gonna have a frost date doesn’t mean that some

of your tomatoes, peppers, zucchinis, like it when it gets cold out! Like it’s getting

a bit cold out for me right now. You know they don’t perform as well, they’re used

to the nice summer weathers, the warmer days and little bit cooler nights but not super

cold! Like it can still get here in the springtime. So, what we’re gonna do to improve my growth

habits—and this is very important because what I wanna recommend to you guys and think

about your garden like this: your plants are like any other creature on Earth, right? The

more they’re stressed out when they’re young, the later in life they’re more screwed

up in the head so say you know you know somebody who has a crack baby, right? This was a mom

that was addicted to crack, the baby grew up basically being born out of the womb addicted

to crack. You know it’s never gonna be the same as a baby that was born with a mom that

ate fresh fruits and vegetables and a good diet, a healthy diet with all the nutrition

right? And we could totally see this! But what many people fail to realize is that your

plants are like people right? You don’t want any crack babies—wait I mean crack

plants! Wait anyways, but what do I mean by that? You don’t wanna stress the plants

out—crack stresses a baby out, abusing a baby—you know if you’re abused as a kid

as a baby, you’re messed up for the rest of your life man it’s really hard to overcome

that. Same thing goes with the plants right? We wanna nurture them especially when they’re

young because if we don’t nurture them when they’re young, they’re stressed out when

they’re young they’re not gonna be as fruitful or produce as much for you when they’re

older. So, it’s very important to water them appropriately, keep them in their right

temperature zones that they like a lot and that’s what I’m gonna focus on now. The

days have been actually fairly nice, usually in the 70s, but the nights can dip a little

cold and my plants may not like that optimally. So, what we got—we got these guys and what

these guys are gonna do—they’re actually called the “Plant Protector” here and

it looks like a dunce cap for like your dog when they get a surgery and can’t lick or

bite themselves. But, what this is is literally a—I don’t know—a cloche or however you

pronounce it I’m not a botanical dude. But it’s basically a plant protector, “it

allows you to plant earlier, harvest sooner, extend your season, protects against wind,

snow, and frost.” So, this will allow you to plant things out early now is this going

to allow you to plant things out in the middle of winter if you live where it’s still snowing?

Probably not your tomatoes but after you get closer to that last frost date you can definitely

get a jump on the season and especially if the sun is shining. You know you can even

start your baby plants outside by putting a seed in the ground and one of these guys

over it. This will intensify and act as a little miniature greenhouse for your seeds

to warm up your soil so that the seeds can sprout and start to grow. In addition, if

it should frost this guy will provide some level of probably several degrees of protection

to the plant to allow it to grow plus in the daytime, it’s gonna make a little greenhouse

effect. So, it’s gonna get warmer inside which the plant may like more. They do have

two sizes, this is the large size they also have a smaller size. We’re gonna go ahead

and use this large size on each one of my plants. This is actually very intelligently

designed, this ships flat and then you assemble it to this position. So, this is super simple

to put together you’re basically gonna put these two guys down and there’s two little

things that basically cross over each other like this, locks into place and now you have

a little miniature greenhouse. The cool thing is on the top of this there’s a little cutout

so if you want some extra air circulation cause heat rises and it’s not gonna get

too hot in there, you can actually bend this tab open to give like a little chimney effect

to keep it a little cooler in there. And then on the bottom here we got these little tabs

we’re then gonna go ahead and bend up. And what these little tabs do is they will allow

you to take plant stakes and garden stakes—take little garden stakes and put them through

to secure them in your raised bed or in the case of this you might be able to screw it

in. We’re just gonna go ahead and put it on there, looks like it’s a little too big

for the container it’s in so I might actually go ahead and use a couple of tacks and tack

it down so I mean this makes a perfect little container greenhouse using the Grow It Now

“Plant Protectors”. I think I gotta buckle this up, get these on the drip system, set

this outside and you know get them growing. To learn more about the “Plant Protectors”

you wanna visit GrowItNow.com. Be sure to check the link in the description for a direct

link to the company and also a special discount code so you guys can get these “Plant Protectors”

that I like so much. Such an intelligent design plus the one thing I really like is that they’re

tall so you can grow things in here for quite a bit of time to get that early jump on the

seasons, then you’ll have tomatoes sooner than all your neighbors this year. Hopefully

you guys enjoyed this episode once again my name is John Kohler with GrowingYourGreens.com.

We’ll see you next time and remember keep on growing.