If your vegetable or herb plants arrive on a cloudy day after the danger of frost is past, plant right away. If it is hot and sunny, wait to set the plants out until late in the afternoon or early evening. Following the spacing suggestion on each plant label, place plants in each hole and fill the holes with water and let it soak in. The first soaking gives the roots plenty of moisture to get the plants off to a good start. Fill in the holes with surrounding soil and leave a slight depression around each plant to collect and hold water so it soaks in around each plant. If temperatures happen to dip below freezing unexpectedly, protect newly planted vegetables and herbs by covering them with protective caps or covers.
Plant 12-18 inches apart in spring or fall. Prepare a deep trench filled with compost and rich topsoil. Spread the crowns over the soil and cover them with 2 inches of soil. Gradually fill the trench with soil as the plants grow. If planting in fall, fill the trench in completely.
Each spring, apply 3-5 pounds of fertilizer per 100 square feet. Work into the soil before growth starts. Repeat application after the harvest is complete. Cut the tops back and mulch in late fall to help prevent deep freezing and sudden changes in soil temperature. Limit the first harvest to one or two cuttings by mid June of the second year.
A full crop can be harvested the third year after planting, when the spears are 6-10 inches tall. Harvest for 6-8 weeks only, or until about the first of July in the North. When harvesting, snap off or cut spears at ground level to avoid injuring new growth.
Divide garlic bulbs into smaller cloves to increase the number of plantings. In early spring or fall, plant cloves 4 inches apart and I inch deep. Full sun and rich soil is recommended to produce best crop. Harvest bulbs after the foliage has yellowed. Cure in the sun for 2 weeks or until dry.
Place in mesh bags and hang in a cool, dry, dark spot.
Plant sets 1-2 inches deep and 3-4 inches apart. Onions are ready to harvest when 3/4 of the tops have fallen over. After digging, leave bulbs in the garden to cure for a few days until the roots are brittle. Spread out on newspaper in a dry, dark spot for 2-3 weeks. Remove any excess soil. Cut tops to 1-1/2 inch above the bulb. Store onions in a mesh bag in a cool, airy spot. Use the ones with thick stem areas first as they are more likely to spoil.
In order to achieve greater yields, whole seed potatoes may be cut into pieces. Be sure that each potato seed piece has at least one or two eyes, cut into sections and allow them to air dry at room temperature for 2-4 days prior to planting. Place cut seed pieces or sets 8-10" apart in rows and cover with at least 3" of soil. Be careful to not cultivate too deeply and damage the potatoes forming close to the soil surface. Harvest young potatoes when they are deemed large enough to eat, usually 7-8 weeks after planting. Dig rest of crop for winter storage in late summer or fall after plant tops begin to dry. Dry harvested potatoes 2-3 hours, then store in a cool, dark, well-ventilated spot.
Position crowns 3-4 inches below the soil 3-4" surface (see illustration at right). Water heavily, cultivate regularly and feed generously the first year. Stalks can be lightly harvested the second year. After that, they may be pulled over a 6-week period from early spring until early summer. Plants can be mowed, dug and divided in either fall or spring.