Monday, February 2, 2009

Garden 101 -- The Basics

I assume you've already decided you'd like to garden. This is a great decision -- it'll save you money while you save the planet. You can't get more locavore than eating out of your own garden!

So, what do you need?

Dirt. (Ahem. "That's soil," my grandfather would say right now. "Dirt's what's under your fingernails.") Preferably the highest, sunniest spot in your yard. Full or nearly full sun is extremely important. Big containers (don't buy, scrounge) on your patio, balcony, or deck will also work. Turn or till this dirt a few weeks before the official "frost-free" date for your area, working in soil amendments (like compost, peat moss, or other rich organic matter). Turn or till again shortly before you plant to aerate the soil so the new plants can root deeply.

Seeds. You can buy plants, too, but seeds are MUCH more economical. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere and haven't bought seeds yet, get to it! You'll need to start seeds indoors very soon in order to get them in the dirt... er, soil in time to produce well over the summer.

A plan. Ah, now here's where it can get tricky. Winter is the time when gardeners plot and scheme, and the winter is already half gone! You'll need a basic idea of three things: what grows in your area, what you want to grow, how much space you have. Once you have that figured out, check out the upcoming "Garden 102" and "Garden 103" for more planning advice.

That's it! Simple, right? Once you have dirt, I mean soil, seeds, and a plan, move on to Garden 102.

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