By Regina M. Dlugokencky
Whether you are a seasoned grower or not, this is the perfect time to begin to garden.
Soil temperatures have warmed enough to receive many crops and the threat of a frost has greatly diminished with the passing of the last Full Moon.
Even Super-storm Sandy has given the go-ahead
to get your hands into the soil with the offer of a silver lining: more light penetration from fallen trees. Formerly sunlight-deprived and would-be gardeners alike now have opportunity of starting a garden.
Just do it!
There are just a few basic rules to begin your gardening adventure in the most wholesome way:
Not only will you save money on inputs that cause the environment and you some trouble, it is healthier on other levels. Organically grown vegetables have been found to be more nutrient-dense than those conventionally grown. It just makes sense that Healthy Soil=Healthy Food=Healthy people.
Soil is a living thing and healthy soil can be had with a bit of compost, kelp, and other unprocessed forms of nitrogen such as composted chicken, cow, or horse manure. (Don’t use fresh manure unless you are leaving it to age for several months before planting.)
The alkalinity most preferred by veggies is between 6.0 + 7.5. If you don’t know your soil’s pH, it can be tested now and corrected slowly over time. Cornell Cooperative Extension tests soil for as little as $5 (http://ccesuffolk.org/soil-testing-laboratory).
Start small and choose the right site.
New gardeners and sage ones alike are equally guilty of taking too much on too soon. Stay focused and start slowly. Gardening should be a labor of love, but not one you’re shackled to and from which you plot escape. Consider container gardening for vegetables such as peppers and eggplants if you’re limited on space. Unless otherwise noted, site your garden where it will get full sun (6-8 hours per day).
Grow what you love.
Growing a prolific but un-harvested vegetable will not only be less fulfilling, it will seem like a chore. If you have limited space, grow only your favorites and purchase the others at a local farmers’ market.
Buy Locally Grown Plants: