Smart Gardening Tips

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Do you cultivate a garden? The beauty of planting your own fruits and veggies is that every season has something new to offer. Summer gardens have a unique allure, however, given the optimal growing conditions and consistent sunshine. And it’s hard to beat that gorgeous summer produce! These tips will help inspire you:

Equip yourself properly

While you can spend a fortune on gardening supplies, you really don’t have to. You do, however, need some basic essentials, including gloves, a shovel, spade and hoe, a garden hose, potting soil, and some natural/organic fertilizer. Larger gardens may call for additional items, such as pruning tools, sprinklers, a lawn mower, an edger, etc. The size and scope of your garden will help determine your equipment needs.

Work with your space

A large yard opens up the possibility of an in-ground garden and/or raised beds, which are ideal for the ambitious gardener. For smaller yards (and busy schedules), lower maintenance, space-conserving containers make sense. Fortunately, a wide array of items grow well in pots, including tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, peppers, cucumbers, basil, oregano, mint, chives, and more.

Zero in on what you love

All gardens require nurturing, so grow foods you enjoy for a true labor of love. Both garden supply centers and farmer’s markets are great resources to ascertain what grows well in your area, enabling you to zero in on your favorites. Think tomatoes, peppers, greens, herbs, and even squash and corn if your space permits. If you mainly prefer flowers, observing what thrives locally will get you started on the right foot.

Go organic

While fresh, organic produce is often regarded as a luxury, you can cultivate your own pesticide-free bounty at minimal expense! This vegetable index is a great tool, and includes an Organic Gardening Fact Sheet with seed and harvest information, special varieties, insect pests, and other information needed to grow your favorite veggies: http://www.organicgardeninfo.com/vegetable-index.html

Consider composting

Even done on a small scale, composting offers a host of benefits. For one, returning your scraps to the earth reduces waste in our landfills, which in turn cuts down on the methane that these biodegradable items would otherwise produce (which contributes to global warming). You’ll also enjoy free fertilizer and better quality soil. Ready for “Composting 101?” Here’s a cool overview: http://www.thegardenofoz.org/composting101.asp

For many of us, gardening is a soul-feeding endeavor, not to mention good physical exercise. And the rewards are amazing, even with a few windowsill herbs. So, get out and get growing. You’ll be glad you did!

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