›› Kayla Siefried
Since the onset of this pandemic, we’ve noticed an immense increase in peoples gardening, soil and composting interest here at the Compost Education Centre. It’s a hopeful thing amongst these uncertain times, to see people so keen to turn to their gardens, balcony pots, and boulevards for some recreation.
The reasons for growing your own food are many: it’s healthy for us, our community and the environment. And it sure does taste really good! But the how-to-grow-food is the important bit at this time of year!
Here are some solid tips to get you going:
Start with the soil!
Nourish your soil by adding homemade compost and keep your soil covered in leaf mulch or straw. Compost and mulch breed helpful soil microbe life, replenish nutrients and add all important organic matter to the mix. And, know that the best soil you have is the stuff that’s already under your toes.
Plan for a small garden if you are new to it
Celebrate your successes. Easy and fast growing plants are rewarding for everyone, so try some lettuces, kale, peas, beans, and potatoes.
Poke your hand in the soil a couple of centimeters. Does it feel dry 2cm down? If so, water your garden. When you have delicate small seeds that are waiting to sprout, you need to water more often. Once plants are established, water deeply, meaning a longer more abundant water that will sink deeper in to encourage healthy established roots. Shallowly watering more often will result in weaker roots. Try to water in the morning, before the sun gets too hot, and to minimize overnight moist loving pest damage.
Pests and bugs munch things—it’s part of the gardening experiment! Know that when your soil is healthy, it will be better able to support the resilience of your plants. So, try again, with more compost and organic matter!