By Robyn Wisch
If you’d like to remind your kids what being outside is like, without the television on, the phone fixed to their ears, or video games streaming to their brains, the relaxing and rejuvenating task of building a fruit and vegetable garden may be just for you. Strawberry and tomato patches are two of the most popular plants for a new garden, as they grow well in most climates and require relatively little maintenance. So drag your kids outside and remind them just how fun a day in the summer sunshine can be.
Choose a location for your strawberry patch that receives at least six hours of sunlight every day, and is not too close to other fruits or vegetables. Strawberries grow best when they have sufficient space to flourish on their own.
Prepare the strawberry bed. Loosen the soil with a rototiller to provide proper aeration and enrich with compost. Add a layer of mulch to prevent weeds.
Dig a hole for each strawberry plant, setting the rows about 4 feet apart. The hole should be just deep enough to cover the roots and about 2 inches of the stem.
Water the patch and be sure to keep it well-watered at all times.
Weed the garden regularly and keep critters out with a small chain-link fence if necessary.
Choose a location for your tomato patch that receives at least six hours of sunlight every day and has sufficient room for a tomato trellis or cage.
Prepare the garden bed. Loosen the soil with a rototiller to provide proper aeration. Add a layer of mulch to prevent weeds.
Plant tomatoes in the ground in rows about 2 feet apart. Plant deeply so the first set of leaves are close to ground level. This will allow the plant to grow a sturdy root system.
Install a sturdy tomato trellis or cage and tie the tomato vines gently along the posts.
Water the tomato patch and make sure the soil does not dry out. Keep it moist, but not too soggy.
Enrich the soil with compost after the first tomato fruits have begun to grow. Do not over-fertilize.
Tomatoes do not tolerate cold very well, so keep them away from frosty temperatures on the ground. Strawberry plants are resistant to cold temperatures, but be prepared to protect them from the cold, if necessary, once they start flowering.