Ready, set, grow: Easy as 1-2-3

May 17, 2008

Have you started your organic vegetable garden yet? For most people, the danger of frost is over making this weekend a great time to get everything underway. The following steps help make growing your own as easy as 1-2-3:

1. Planning. Feeling a little overwhelmed? It’s Clyde to the rescue! Clyde’s utilized his skills as an engineer to come up with a pocket sized slide chart (similar to a slide rule – ha!) to show you everything you need to know to prepare and keep your garden on track. Clyde’s Garden Planner shows “at-a-glance” when to plant vegetables, gives frost dates, shows planting depth, distance, harvest dates and much more. Clyde managed to pack a ton of information into this handy little tool. At only $3.50 postage paid it’s a bargain. Clyde even has a four minute video. Check it out at

2. Soil. Not just any soil. Well balanced soil. Well balanced soil that contains the proper minerals. After growing organic for years we thought we had it down – lots of good compost, some peat moss, manure, and we were good to go. Until last year when our smaller garden had what can only be described as “failure to thrive.” We knew we needed something but what? Not a bunch of store bought chemicals that’s for sure. So this year we got a soil test, (yes, the soil was nutrient deficient), quizzed other local organic gardeners, examined the ingredients in quick fix fertilizers, and then found Michael. Dubbed the soil doctor, Michael Astera from Soil has been researching, amending, and teaching on the benefits of proper soil balance for years. Not only can he perform a comprehensive (and worthwhile) test to determine what your soil needs, he will advise on what and how much to then put in it (organic of couse). Be prepared to not only have great soil and an abundant garden, but a few online sessions with Michael and you’ll have a PhD in soil management. See The Importance of Well Balanced Soil.

3. Seeds. Heirloom that is. Warning, growing heirlooms is addicting. With names like Atomic Red, Lenticchie Verdi, Dot’s Delight, Black Nightfall and Marmalade, searching for and growing heirlooms is a virtual feast for the senses. And you’ll be helping sustain some of nature’s best. With big companies taking over our seed supply, diversity and availabilty is becoming a thing of the past. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, since 1900, approximately 75% of the world’s genetic diversity of agricultural crops has been eliminated. Almost 96% of the commercial vegetable varieties available in 1903 are now extinct! By buying, growing and trading heirlooms you’ll be supporting their sustainability. And here’s another great benefit of growing heirlooms – they’re hardier. That’s right. No weaklings in Mother Nature’s supply. Maybe because they’re not genetically modified to grow only one season. Last month we planted a few “Livingston Magnus” heirloom tomatoes leftover from last year. The little buggers spouted right up with the lettuce, spinach, chard, and a few tomoto plants from our local garden supply. We got a hard freeze and the tomatoes didn’t make it. Not the store bought ones anyway. Our little tiny Livingston’s- the way smallest of the bunch-did just fine. What can we say…we’re believers!

So where do you find these wonderful heirlooms seeds. There are many good companies out there. We happen to be partial to Victory Seeds. They have a great variety and they are darn nice people. Their website is loaded with good info. Seedsavers is another great seed source.

So there you go. No more excuses. It’s time to get growing. You’ll love it!


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