It happens every year. There you are in your office, minding your own business, when one of your co-workers comes in and leaves a basket full of delicious and beautiful squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers on your desk. Immediately you are filled with gratitude. Then BOOM. It hits. You realize, that you have missed gardening season yet again. You were going to plant your own, this year. You really intended to learn more about it.
Well, don’t you worry- Your friends at Chesapeake Bank are here and [to the tune of the Carpenters song] ‘spring only just besprung’. We’ve got some tips to get you started! The new year will not get away from you again.
First, pick up your copy of the 2017 Vegetable Growers Handbook from your local Southern States. Not only is it FREE but it tells you when to plant, how far apart, how deep, and when to pick. You can grab seeds and basic gardening tools if needed, while you’re there.
You won’t need a giant garden to be productive either. Don’t plant everything, just pick a few key things and work other items as you find your groove. Here are The 10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow. If it’s still a little too dark or chilly when you have time to garden, consider buying seedlings when it’s time to plant or starting your seeds indoors. You can transport them later on. Then basically, it’s fertilizer, water and sun.
For best odds, you’ll want to consider:
- Raised beds – They help with drainage. They also give you more control over pests and soil. Here are some tips on how to make them.
- Compost – You can buy it from places like The Greenhouse II, or Let It Grow, or you can make your own.
- Till In – Compost, old horse or chicken manure. Be sure to use older waste or purchase store bought as the fresh stuff might burn your plants.
- Label plants – You can make your own labels if you’d like but the tags that come with your original plants or seed packages often include pictures. This will help you recognize the plants by their leaves, especially if they’ve gotten moved around by Mother Nature.
Check out this list of 13 Headache-Inducing Garden Pests and How to Control Them or this comparable article on solutions for Selected Vegetable Diseases, written by the Virginia Cooperative Extension. You might also be interested in these natural repellents.
Many towns have local gardening clubs, like the Rappahannock Garden Club, Williamsburg Community Growers, Garden Club of Virginia in Richmond, or the Gloucester Virginia Master Gardners. You can learn about classes, swap notes, sometimes swap plants, and make new friends along the way.
Gardening is a great family activity too. Not only are you disconnecting from the world and spending time together; but you can ‘grow’ healthier eating habits, talk about values, explore nature, all while saving money at the grocery store. Not to mention, kids are great enthusiasts and helpers that just can’t resist a little dirt. So relax and enjoy making a good mess a new tradition. Either way something is guaranteed to bloom.
Click here to view other great local ‘Home & Garden‘ merchants.