Gardening Articles and Videos

What do my vegetables need to grow?
4/6/2010 | Sheryl McGlochlin

Article image: What do my vegetables need to grow?

Growing plants is a mystery to some. Good gardeners learn to separate fact from fiction and quickly learn that gardening is both art and science. They spend time with their plants, learning to determine their needs and growing conditions. For them, gardening offers tasty rewards.

Plants have several basic needs. They need light, the proper growing temperatures, nutrients and water. Plants make their own food, hormones and vitamins. As a gardener, your task is to provide for the needs of your plants to help them grow well.

Light is critical to carry on growth through photosynthesis. Most vegetables need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day. If your growing area does not provide this light, move the garden or grow leafy vegetables, such as lettuce, that do not produce a fruit.

Vegetables are divided into two groups — cool-season and warm-season types. Cool-season plants will tolerate a light frost; warm-season types will not take freezing temperatures. Always plant the seeds or transplants according to what they will tolerate.

Although plants make their own food, they must have the right nutrients. Understanding what nutrients a plant needs and how best to apply them is essential to growing a good garden.

Water is critical for all plants, especially in our high mountain deserts. Water is a critical component to make plant food and also provides the needed internal support, cooling, and movement of nutrients throughout the plants.