Tips for Starting Your Own Garden

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A lot of people want to start a sustainable garden for a summer project, but don’t know where to begin. While at first it can seem simple to start a garden (put a seed in the ground, water it, and watch it grow— right?), there’s a lot more to it than you would think. Depending on where you live, certain plants are better than others. It’s also important to choose the right time for the right plants. Picking the right spot for your plants (shade and sun exposure) is also something to consider. We’ve come up with a few tips and tricks to make sure that your summer gardening project goes smoothly. Here are some things to consider when you’re planning your planting:

Go Organic. Using less chemicals in your garden is more ecologically sound — and more cost effective. If you’re raising food for your family, gardening organically is even more important. Start from the ground up by building good soil, rich in nutrients; add natural compost to amend the soil. If you discover insect pests or plant disease in your garden, treat with organic solutions. To read more about organic gardening solutions,

Plant Natives. Plants that are indigenous to your region are called natives. These plants take less work, usually require less water, and thrive better than other perennials because they are already suited to your climate, rainfall, and soil types. Additionally, native plant species provide food and shelter for the native insect and bird populations.

Water Less. Having a less thirsty garden is an important element of sustainability, especially in areas where water is scarce and restricted. Xeriscaping, the method of gardening and landscaping that reduces the need for watering, incorporates a wide variety of attractive drought-tolerant shrubs and perennials.

Grow Your Own Food. Growing fruits, vegetables, and herbs is satisfying, easy, and delicious. Plus, raising some of your own food is part of a sustainable lifestyle. Plant strategically and by season. Crops, such as greens and lettuce, sprout quickly in the spring but die out in summer’s hot temps. Beds can be interplanted with hot-weather crops such as tomatoes and peppers. When autumn temps cool down, you can sow cool weather crops again, getting three seasons of food from the same area.

Some fruits and veggies that do well during the warm season here in San Diego include tomato, watermelon, cantaloupe, summer squash, cucumber, snap and lima beans, and sweet corn.

Save Seeds. When annual flowers go to seed at the end of the season, collect their dried seed heads and store them in a dry place all winter. You can sow the seeds in your garden next spring. Try this with marigold, sunflower, and morning glory.

Happy gardening!

Lauren lives in OB with her French bulldog, Elvis Presley. She loves laughter and the great outdoors. You can contact her at [email protected].

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