5 Tips for a Bountiful Garden
Jump for joy! It’s that time of year to get your hands dirty and dive into your garden. But gardener beware…all sorts of craziness can ensue if you don’t keep these 5 tips in mind:
- Plan, Plan, and Plan Some More Resist the urge to start throwing stuff into your garden without planning first. I’ve made that mistake before and then dealt with the attack of the killer tomatoes. Seriously, they took over the garden and it was not pretty. When planning your garden, think about what time of year each plant will be in season. Plan for produce throughout the growing season from spring lettuces to fall squashes. Also, know where the sun hits your garden at what time of day and plan accordingly. Lastly, make sure you allow for space between areas of plants so you have room to get in there and weed and gather your garden bounty.
- Prep that Dirt – Before planting, it’s important to make sure your soil is at its’ best. It’s common for our local ground to be more clay than soil. Mix in planting soil and/or compost with a shovel or rototiller to start your garden off right.
- Give them a Drink – How much to water and how often? There is no magic answer. In hot, dry weather, water every few days and look for signs that your plants are thirsty such as dry, wilting leaves. If the soil looks dry, stick your fingers down into the dirt to feel if it’s moist. If not, give it a drink, at the base and slowly so the plants don’t become waterlogged. Signs of too much water include wet and wilting leaves, brown or yellow leaves and root rot.
- Control those Weeds – Plants need room to breathe but weeds can make that difficult. Help stop their growth by covering weeds with newspaper strips or cardboard and untreated grass clippings or mulch. Regularly yank weeds from the garden, especially ones that are close to the roots of plants. Pull close to the base to get the roots out and use a hand tool if necessary. I find it easiest to pull weeds a day or so after it has rained while the soil is still soft. Get the whole family involved and make it a weed pulling party.
- Help our bees – Bees are crucial to our planet but their numbers are declining at an alarming rate. You can help the bees by planting a variety of bee-friendly plants and flowers. Not only will this help the bee population but they are natural pollinators and will make your garden even more colorful and bountiful. Read more bee-friendly gardening tips from the Honeybee Conservancy.
There you have it! Get going on your garden and reap the rewards of your efforts all season long. Don’t have a garden of your own or want to dig in more? View details on how you and your family can help our Pantry’s Growing Together Garden. Learn to grow food, give your time, and share the harvest with our community.
By: Shane Von Holten