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Sidedressing Vegetables

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

The vegetables are really starting to look good in the garden these days. But now isn't the time to get lax on caring for them. You need to water, weed, and side dress them. The heavy feeders, such as tomatoes, peppers, melons, cucumbers, squash, and corn, will need a little side dressing of fertilizer right now to keep them going. Not only will it help the fruit that are setting, but it will help the ones you have already growing get bigger and better!

It's best to use an organic product, such as 5-3-4. It's easy to use this granule product. Take a small handful and sprinkle it around the base of the individual large plants such as tomatoes. Spread it around the drip line of the plant.

This is also good for melons, cucumbers and squash. Spread it around the squash, melons and cucumbers when they start vining or when they start forming small little fruits.

There are some specialty products, too, that you can use. For example, corn gluten herbicide is used to control crabgrass, but it's also a great organic fertilizer. If you have corn, spread the corn gluten around it. It's got 10 percent nitrogen which corn loves, and it stops any of the weeds from germinating around the corn, so it helps in a number of ways.

Another product you can use is my favorite, epsom salts! A tablespoon of epsom salts in a gallon of water watered around tomatoes and peppers is a nice way to add some magnesium to the soil. That really beefs up the quality of the fruit.

By Charlie Nardozzi

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