The Q&A Archives: food garden

Question: I am going to be starting a veggie/fruit garden next year and was wondering if there is anything that I should be doing to prepare this summer? Also, what is better to buy seeds or the plants that are started already? If starting by seeds, when should I do that, this fall or early spring?

Answer: You can start by identifying the sunniest area in your yard and then working the soil. Start this spring by removing all vegetation from the area and spreading 4-5 inches of organic matter over the vegetable bed. You can use compost, aged manure (fresh manure can be too hot and might contain weed seeds), shredded leaves or whatever organic matter is readily available in your local area. Dig or till this organic matter into the soil - 8-10 inches deep. Level the soil and spread a 2-3 inch layer of compost or other mulch material over the bed to help suppress weeds. Next spring, when you are ready to plant, dig the organic matter into the soil and plant your vegetable seeds or transplants. After everything is plants, mulch around the plants with additional compost to help suppress weeds. At the end of the season dig the mulch into the soil and add a fresh layer. Repeat this process annually and you'll end up with rich garden loam - and a spectacular vegetable garden. If this is your first garden, start with vegetable starts that you purchase from your garden center. These plants will be ready to grow in your garden as soon as they are available at the garden center. Have a great garden!

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