SPACE • • • THE PHYTO FRONTIER
OK, people. Nobody needs to get their feelings hurt today. We've all done it—in fact, last year we all did it... together... right out in the open where everyone could see us!
Planting too close, that is. (What were you thinking?!) Everybody loves a dense plume of green rising up from their 4x8 like a stiff foam on a tasty saison. But here's the problem: All those plants so close together become a petri dish for some nasty and fast-acting pathologies that, at best, can force an early harvest and, at worst, can ruin months of care and coddling—almost overnight.
What to do?
Add some space.
Here's the problem. We all want to maximize our little plots, take full advantage of the abundant Norcross sun and—maybe, just maybe—snag some bragging rights in the process. But anyone who was around for the "great blight of 2017" will tell you... it's not worth it! We witnessed an entire garden's-worth of tomatoes and peppers go belly up in two or three days. (Nightshades were most heavily impacted.) Gardeners showed up to tend and pluck, only to find stalks that, a single visit before, had sported full complements of leaves and ripening fruit.
Corrective measures were soon implemented, and regular neem spraying continues to this day. But this is not a pass to resume over-eager planting practices.
Space Out, Man!
For the visually oriented, here's a handy spacing guide, with photos snapped moments ago at NDGP.
So what's the "baby bear" solution. Just follow spacing instructions on your seed packets or seedling labels. If you don't have access to either of those, bookmark this website, which sports a handy guide (or search garden plant spacing). Keep in mind that plants in our Norcross Discovery Garden tend to be VERY robust. Maybe it's the full eight-hour sun bath much of the garden gets every day, the abundant rain that soaks our deep planters—or our location next to the fire station?
While we're sorting out the reasons for our refulgence, please help yourself and your fellow NDGP gardeners by putting up with what will seem like a sad, spare little plot while your plants get established. Once the magic kicks in, you'll have twice the fun with half the plants.