Starting a personal garden is a perfect way to enjoy a sunny weekend day outdoors. But, it’s also on trend. Gardening’s recent rise in popularity is attributed to more time at home and a need to combat shortages at grocery stores during the pandemic.
Organic gardening one-ups this process by promoting sustainability. Not only are the fresh vegetables and herbs good for your family, but they are also good for the environment. Jason Freskos, who launched Sacred Source Botanicals, provides tips for beginners wanting to start their own gardens.
As cliché as it sounds, “you’re only as good as your tools.” This old adage exists for a reason. A trowel, pruner, clipper, watering can, and gloves are the basics you’re likely familiar with. However, a soil test kit is equally important. Get a breakdown of your soil’s nutrients before applying any materials. The soil will need to be conditioned. This is a critical step in preparing a garden. A compost bin is recommended for getting the quality soil needed. Jason Freskos promotes a tumbling composter that makes churning refuse easier. While this is helpful, it isn’t necessary. Bagged hummus is a great substitution for compost. If you do choose to compost, add alternate layers of manure, lawn clippings, and kitchen scraps. Turn the pile regularly as new levels are added. Start this process early though. Compost can take several months before it’ll be ready to use.
Now, you’re ready for the fun part. Tilling, churning and preparing the soils is a grind. It’s labor-intensive, but selecting the crops you’ll be planting is exciting. Pick the right plants by consulting the USDA Hardiness Zones to see what can grow in your area. Every fruit, vegetable, and herb has specific sunlight, moisture, and soil requirements. Happy plants will yield the best results. Seedlings or starter crops are strong selections since they already have established roots. Look for plants produced without chemicals or fertilizers. Jason Freskos encourages you to tightly plant in clean, neat rows. This reduces weeding and waste water. Keep space to generate more air circulation and limit overshadowing. For first-time growers, Jason Freskos also recommends tomatoes or pole beans. These crops typically continue to grow larger and produce more all the way until frost. Regardless of what is planted, your new crops will need routine maintenance, watering, weeding and pest control. The best time to water is in the morning, when less water is lost due to evaporation. Water at the base, not the leaves.
You’ve done all the hard work. Now, it’s time to eat. During peak season, harvesting is needed every day. The more you harvest, the more the plants will produce. If all goes well, you might have to take up canning too. You’re going to have to do something with all this food.
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