Photo by Annie Spiegelman
Author Annie Spiegelman, the Dirt Diva, is giving away a copy of her book Talking Dirt: The Dirt Diva’s Down-to-Earth Guide to Organic Gardening this week on The Stir.
But before you head over to enter to win, don't miss Annie's tips for getting started growing your Springtime Vegetable Garden. She makes it super simple and gives some super tips for keeping things organic in your edible garden.
That's right. None of that funny chemical stuff!
5 Tips for Growing your Springtime Vegetable Garden by Annie Spiegelman aka The Dirt Diva
- Pick the perfect spot: Find an area of your yard that gets 6-8 hours of sun a day. If this is a new plot of soil that has never been amended, you might want to do a soil test first. This will tell you the pH of your soil. Most vegetables grow best in a pH of 6-7, which is a bit on the acidic side. You can find a simple soil test kit at your local plant nursery. If your soil test shows a very low pH (acidic), you can amend it with limestone. If your soil test shows a very high pH (Alkaline), you can amend it by adding sulfur. Both of these amendments are available at your local nursery.
- Weed and prepare your area: Before you add any amendment, first weed the area by hand. There are many new weeding tools on the market that are shaped like a claw and can make weeding fun! (Sort of.) After the space is weeded, loosen the soil a bit if it’s compacted. Then rake in any pH amendments and add a 2-3 inch of compost to the top. If your soil has been neglected for years, you can also rake in an organic fertilizer at this time. E.B. Stone, TerraCycle, Dr. Earth and FoxFarm are a few effective and ecologically kinder brands.
- Start planting: Now you’re ready to plant. For some helpful planting designs, visit one of my favorite places to buy seeds, Renee's Garden. She has some useful vegetable plot ‘spacing’ information on the website as well. You can also plant some herbs and flowers such as nasturtium, Shasta daisy and yarrow, nearby your food. This will help to invite beneficial bugs to eat up any pests that come to visit your vegetables.
- Mist your seeds: If planting from seed, straight into the ground, make sure to mist your seeds every day lightly till they come up as seedlings. You’ll want to do some thinning once the seedlings are a few inches tall. See directions on the seed package. If you’re planting a 6-pack of vegetables (seedlings) watering with a drip system of a soaker hose is ideal. This way you’re not getting the leaves wet and spreading fungal spores to your plants.
- If necessary, tackle pests: If your crop develops a pest or disease problem, find some garden-geeks at your local Master Gardener office. (Look up local offices nationally at the American Horticultural Society.) Take a specimen in to be diagnosed. They’ll recommend the most environmentally sound way to approach it. Safer, cleaner gardening product recommendations can also be found at Our Water Our World.)
These great tips from Annie ought to help get your spring garden started. The rest is up to Mother Nature and you!
To be entered to win a copy of Annie's book, just leave your answer to the question in the Talking Dirt Giveaway post.