With the weather getting warmer, gardening season has officially begun. You may already have seedlings growing in containers that are ready to be transplanted, but before you do that here are four things you need to accomplish to reap the benefits.
- Remove weeds – These little suckers will sprout anywhere, even from cement and they will suck the life out of your plans by feeding off of the soil’s nutrients. Spending a good amount of time removing weeds will pay off. Make sure to get to the root of the problem by digging them out and not just pulling them.
- Take a Soil Test – Check soil pH with a home soil test kit that you can buy at your local gardening store. Make sure to take several samples from different planting areas for an accurate reading. Some plants like the soil to be more acidic, like my blueberry bush. If necessary enrich the soil. To make it more acidic add diluted vinegar, coffee or pine needles. To make it less acidic and raise the pH, add wood ashes.
- Feed your soil – Do this after you remove all weeds. To help your fruits and veggies grow strong, add fertilizer or compost to your soil. At my community garden, we continue to make our own compost and have started adding bunny droppings. Chicken droppings will also work, but not all animal droppings are suitable.
- Find a home – Finding the right spot for your plants will keep them happy and help with pest control. Before you begin transplanting your seedlings, have a plan. Think of what you will be planting and make sure plants that like each other are near one another. Think of it as planning a reception. You want to be aware of who gets along with whom so they can sit together and separate those that don’t to avoid an awkward moment, or poor growth. If you are growing tomatoes make sure to plant some basil and parsley near them as they like to sit next to each other. Try to avoid having veggies from the cabbage family (broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts) sit next to each other as it will just turn into an aphid breeding ground.