Lydia Constantini, manager of Sonoma Mission Gardens, has some great and quick advice for making the best of our home vegetable gardens.

She says to fertilize your gardens right now with tomato and vegetable fertilizer from Greenall or E.B. Stone Organics. Constantini says, “If you’ve been off to the South of France sunning yourself, drinking rosé, good for you! Didn’t get your garden in before you flew off? That’s OK.”

Here are a few tips from Constantini.

Soil Preparation

Use your own compost, or add a good, high quality garden product to your native soil. The addition of well composted mulches and manures will enrich and enhance your garden.

Fertilizing

Plan to use a good start up fertilizer when planting your garden, we prefer E.B. Stone brand “Sure Start.” Always choose a fertilizer containing beneficial Mycorrhizae bacteria along with multiple organic products to help create the relationship between soil and roots. Then use a well-balanced fertilizer.

Watering

Water your new plants daily, especially the first four weeks after planting -- it will be necessary to help with root. After the first month or so, depending on the weather, water two to three times per week.

Use your water wisely. For instance, corn is a very thirsty crop. Do you really need to use your precious water on a vegetable that is very inexpensive to purchase during the season? Grow what you like to eat and what will give you a good return for your water investment.

Successive Planting

Beans, carrots, lettuce, radishes, corn and lettuces mature quickly, are ready to pick, and then they are finished. Plant all of these intermittently every two to three weeks for continuous yields throughout the summer.

Tomatoes

We all love to plant tomatoes, and many of us plant too many, especially if we scooped them up at Tomatomania.

Both Sonoma Mission Gardens and Wine Country Garden Center have loads of tomato plants if you want to grow your own.

It’s always fun to share your crop proudly with friends and neighbors, especially those who don’t have room or the ability to grow them or garden in general. No tomato tastes as good as a homegrown tomato. Sonoma students have certainly learned that in our public school gardens.

Constantini reminds us that it is also time to thin the peaches, plums and other fruit on your trees to give the remaining fruit room and energy to grow and ripen to full juiciness.