Garden season in Southern California is year round and every time I turn around another garden has popped up. Last week I helped IKAR, a spiritual community in Los Angeles, to put in their very own garden. A great company, Farmscape, donated beds, soil and automatic watering supplies to the cause. Neighborhood people and IKAR congregants helped with the building and schelping. It was a beautiful day and I was proud to be a part of it.
However, one thing that I truly learned from the experience is that while so many people are interested in getting their gardens going in their homes or communities, they don’t know much about the basics of sun, soil and water. So, I created a quick step-by-step guide for those thinking about starting a garden.
STEP ONE: Study up on growing food
There are so many resources for growing food. Go online, buy a book or talk to people who grow food (ie, garden specialists at nurseries, farmers at the farmer’s market, your neighbor with the beautiful garden).
STEP TWO: It’s all about SUN, SOIL, and WATER
* Does your space get enough sunlight?
* If you are planting in-ground, have you gone to a garden center and checked your soil? Does it need to be amended? The garden specialist will be able to help you.
* Do you have a means to regularly and easily water your garden?
STEP THREE: START YOUR GARDEN!
* For the first-timer, start with plants that are low-maintenance and are appropriate for the season.
* Sunset Magazine has great monthly suggestions of plants and ways to make your garden grow.
* Be sure to read all instructions on seed packets or pay attention to the instructions given to you about the starts you purchase.
* ORGANIC PEST CONTROL TIP: Surround your new plants with onion, garlic, alyssum and marigolds to help ward off pests.
STEP FOUR: Regularly water and check up on your garden
* Pay attention to the growth of plants
* Are there any critters eating your plants?
* Pull weeds that are overcrowding your plants
* Add mulch to your plants to help keep the soil from losing moisture.
STEP FIVE: Keep learning, reading and asking questions.