After a winter of much-needed rain for our parched California, spring is finally here and Upstarts Organic Seedlings and Cole Canyon Farm are back at the farmers market with a wide variety of organic gourmet herbs and vegetable seedlings to help you get your summer garden underway! Here are some tips to get your garden beds ready for planting and growing a successful summer garden.
If you are uncertain how to grow certain veggies or herbs, check out the helpful Garden Guides on Upstarts Organic Seedlings website. They offer a unique selection of hard-to-find, unusual varieties. Cole Canyon Farms offers a great selection of heirloom varieties, too, as well as an assortment of their Patio Bowls that includes the Tiny Thyme Bowl, Mint Medley, Love Potion, Salad Bowl, Herbes de Provence and the Thai Chef.
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By Barbara Pleasant | Mother Earth News | 1/14/2015
Taking time in spring to build fertility and loosen soil will set you up for a more productive year. First, a few weeks before you plan to plant, work in any cover crops and then blanket your garden bed with at least a half-inch layer of good compost — a full inch would be even better. The compost will provide the soil with a fresh infusion of nutrient-rich organic matter, and improve the soil’s ability to handle water and nourish your crops. Quality bagged compost can be pricey at garden centers. Unearth local sources of bulk compost by checking Craigslist, or try posting to one of MOTHER EARTH NEWS’ location-specific Facebook pages.
Second, focus on cultivating your soil. Pounding rain, gravity, and other forces can cause the soil to become compacted over time, so loosening it before planting should be a priority. If you plan to plant in a young bed that you need to cultivate in order to remove rocks or roots, use a shovel or digging fork to turn the soil when it’s dry and crumbly (never when it’s wet and clumpy, or you’ll be stuck with big, brick-like clods). In established beds, you can use a broadfork to break up the soil. This will prime your garden soil for planting by helping it dry out and warm up, and permit roots to penetrate the soil more easily. Watch the Using the Meadow Creature Broadfork video to see a broadfork in action.