Gardening is more popular than ever and a lot of fun! It’s a relaxing activity which lowers stress, provides exercise and, when vegetables are involved, puts food on the table. Here are six gardening tips to inspire you to put on your work gloves and get dirty.
- Start Early: You can move your spring salad season up a month or more if you start your seeds indoors in late winter. Cold frames are bottomless boxes made from timber and plastic. You can place seedlings inside a cold frame in a sunny part of the yard or place the frame directly over radish, lettuce, and scallion seeds planted in the ground in early spring. And cold frames keep the frost off your plants in the fall.
- Compose Some Compost: Most backyards do not have the rich soil plants thrive on. You can add nutrient-rich humus to your garden for free by turning your food waste into compost. Keep a container with a lid under the sink—a large coffee can is ideal. Add fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, and coffee grounds. (Do not compost meat, dairy products, or pet waste.) When the can is full, dump the scraps in a shady spot to make a compost pile. Mix in grass clippings, dead leaves, and other yard waste.
- Plant on the Compost Pile: Melon and cucumber seeds can be sewn directly in the compost pile. The plants love the warm, nutritious soil.
- Let It Root: If you start seedlings in peat pots, tear away the bottoms when you plant them in the ground. While peat pots are supposed to dissolve, they don’t always break down and they steal moisture from young plants.
- Sun Equals Flowers: Most flowers require energy from the sun—up to 8 hours a day through the growing season. You can ensure you garden grows with many flowers if you plant them directly in the sun. If you have a shady yard, plant flowers in pots that can be moved around if necessary.
- Go Late: You can extend the harvest season for hardy crops such as cabbage, brussel sprouts, and broccoli by covering the plants with straw in the fall.