Growing baby vegetables in South Dakota is easy and practical. Since we have such a short growing season, you can grow several consecutive plantings of baby vegetables. Another nice thing about growing these small vegetables is that you can garden on a smaller scale and still have many vegetables to eat.
Some baby vegetables you can grow are potatoes, zucchini, beets, fennel, kohlrabi, leeks and onions. Some of the vegetables you can grow closely together are broccoli, cauliflower and leeks.
Prepare the Soil
To grow these vegetables in your garden, you must prepare the soil. Work up the soil with a tiller or garden fork. Remove any rocks, hard clumps or sticks. You will need a sunny location to grow vegetables. For the baby vegetables to grow well, place at least 4 inches of compost over the top of the soil. Mix this in thoroughly. In addition, you wouldn’t be amiss to add some well-rotted manure to the soil. This will give your vegetables the nutrients they need to grow well.
Once you have the soil worked up with the compost and manure, level it with the back of your rake. If you can leave the soil to settle a few days, then water the soil well. I do this so when the seeds are scattered over the surface, they won’t fall through any crevices.
Mark Your Rows
Wait until all danger of frost is past before you sow the seeds outdoors. Mark your rows by placing a stick on each side of the garden. Tie a piece of string onto the sticks so you will have a straight row to follow. I usually make my rows using a hoe. If you need a narrow row, use the end of the row. For a wider row, use the long edge of the hoe.
Sprinkle the vegetable seeds over the top of the soil. Cover the seeds with soil. Most seeds are small and they don’t need much soil over the top of them. Make sure you read the back of your seed package for the proper depth. If your seed package does not have this information then generally you plant the seeds 1.5 to 2 times deeper than the width of the seed.
Water and Harvest
Water the seeds well after you plant them. Use the mist spray on your garden hose; otherwise, you could wash the seeds away. Keep the soil moist, but don’t keep it soggy. Keeping the soil too wet can cause the seeds to rot. Most seeds sprout within a week. When the vegetable plants grow, continue to keep the soil moist.
Pick the vegetables when while they are still small. Harvest the baby vegetables, as you need them. If you pick them and try to store them for several days for future use, your vegetables may shrivel and loose their flavor.
Each week you can plant more vegetables to replace the ones that you pick. You don’t have to worry about overcrowding the vegetables either, because you are thinning them as you pick them small.