AJ Petitti plants the Fox 8 garden & morning show anchors have crops to grow

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CLEVELAND, Oh -- It's garden planting time and AJ Petitti along with his team put a lot of thought into what to plant in the Fox 8 2019 garden. AJ explained to Fox 8's Scott Sabol why it's so important to rotate crops each year and what you need to do before you plant carrots.

This year is the 5th year for the garden and the Fox 8 News in the Morning anchors are getting their garden gloves ready.  We have asked them to watch over certain crops. Wayne is going to oversee the carrots, Kristi will be watching the tomatoes and Stefani will be growing basil. Since Fox 8 meteorologist Scott Sabol is our resident garden guru, he will also help his co-workers keep up to speed with their gardening duties in addition to AJ Petitti's weekly professional advice.

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AJ's advice to Wayne, Kristi and Stefani:

Wayne’s Carrots – Growing your own carrots allows you to enjoy unique varieties, flavors, and sizes not available at the grocery store. When planting, break the container up into 3-4 clumps (because it contains multiple carrot bulbs). Planting smaller clumps will allow for better growth and harvest when ready mid-to-late July. Fertilize throughout the season using Espoma Garden-tone®.

Kristi’s Tomatoes – Remember to give ample space for your tomatoes to grow. As they outgrow their cage, stake for best support. Fertilize throughout the season using specially formulated Espoma Tomato-tone® for best results and to avoid blossom end rot.

Stefani’s Basil – As with all herbs, it’s key to the health of the plants (and for your own enjoyment) to continually throughout the season. Herbs are best placed outside and in full season during the spring & summer months. Fun fact, basil is a great mosquito repellant and is also not prone to insect issues.

Here’s a summary of the bigger points AJ made about soil prep, crop rotation, spacing and fertilizing.

Soil Prep – Before you plant, enrichen the soil by mixing in peat moss, composted manure, Espoma Garden-tone®, and Espoma Soil Perfector® (to keep soil loose & improve on heavy clay conditions associated with Northeast Ohio).

Crop Rotation – Rotating your arrangement of plants from year to year can make a big difference in avoiding fungus and other issues, especially when it comes to tomatoes. Even a quarter turn can make an impact.

Spacing – Resist the urge to overcrowd vegetable plants. Plants like peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini may look very small to start but will eventually (and quickly!) grow to 3’ x 3’ and beyond, depending on the variety.

Fertilizing – Be sure to fertilize your crops throughout the season, as directed on packaging. Espoma Tomato-tone® is especially formulated to support success with tomato plants and avoid common issues like blossom end rot. Espoma Garden-tone® or Osmocote® are also great options for vegetable and herb gardens, in general.

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