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Georgia Tech's main campus, with 400 acres and more than 15,000 trees, has a team of landscape professionals maintaining its beauty year-round. Tech Lawn and Garden taps into the knowledge of the lawn and garden experts in Landscape Services, showing how they do what they do and sharing tips that you can use at home.

Planting a Vegetable Garden

By Steve Place, horticulturalist with Landscape Services in Infrastructure and Sustainability

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There are many reasons for growing a vegetable garden. In addition to having fresh vegetables on hand, gardening can help you save money, and you can control the pesticides used. Also, homegrown vegetables just taste better. Here are a few tips to start your garden.

First, you will need a garden location that gets at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight a day. Vegetables need sunlight for photosynthesis.

Select plant varieties that are suited for your environment. Some plants are the ‘running’ variety and require more space. For new gardeners, particularly in the southeast, I recommend planting tomatoes, okra, squash, or eggplants.

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When purchasing plants, inspect them to make sure they are not rootbound or infested with pests. Before planting, gently break apart the root ball to allow the roots to spread. Water the seedlings before planting and again immediately after they go into the ground. Water deeply and less frequently to encourage deep root growth.

After planting, apply a layer of mulch to retain soil moisture and protect plants from drought.

Regularly inspect your plants for pest damage, and groom dead leaves or remove pests manually as needed. Keep your garden clean and free of any debris and weeds that might attract pests.

Disinfect your garden tools regularly by wiping, spraying, or dipping in isopropyl alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar.

What I love the most about gardening is how peaceful it is. There is always something going on, so if you are observant, you can learn and be impressed by how nature works.

You can contact your county’s extension office or consult a gardening website for more gardening tips.

Steve Place tends the Kendeda Building rooftop garden
Steve Place tends the Kendeda Building rooftop garden.

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