Timely Tips for the Newbie Gardener

Ahhhhh, Spring is in the air! Literally. Is anyone not suffering from allergies right now? Possible death by pollen aside, now is the perfect time to start your spring garden. Maybe you’re someone with a large backyard garden looking to experiment with a new row of vegetables, or a total gardening-newbie who has a container pot that just opened up (hey, we know you didn’t mean to kill the last plant you had in it). Whatever your mastery level, be sure to check out the “Plants, Flowers, and Seeds” category on the ALFN Market and see what we have to help get your spring garden started. And if you are a total newbie, here are a few tips to help get you started this Spring!

  • Be realistic. I know how it goes – you have that 10’x20′ patch of grass on the side of your house that you just KNOW would make the most beautiful garden. Before you go tilling up the whole thing, be honest about your time commitment. I don’t say this to deter anyone from taking the plunge, but growing your own food can be hard! If you’re a busy person and this is your first time planting, keep it simple. Something like an indoor herb garden can be the perfect thing to get your feet wet.
Nothing wrong with keeping it simple!
  • Grow in soil, not dirt. If you’re growing in an urban environment, chances are the dirt in your background is not going to cut it. Growing in healthy soil is linked directly to the nutritional value and flavor profile of your plants, so if you’re growing edibles make sure you’re investing in great soil! Consider creating a compost pile to amend your soil, or if you’re not up to keeping up with the nitrogen-carbon ratios and the turning that good compost requires, invest in a quality product from a farmer’s co-op or the local soil experts at The Urban Food Loop.
  • Talk to local gardeners. It can be tempting to click a couple of Pinterest links and think you have it all figured out, but online articles are usually very generalized and don’t take into account the specifics of a region (and our weather is no picnic to navigate). Whether it’s talking to a friend who’s a seasoned gardener or chatting with an employee at a local co-op, make sure you get a few tips from local growers!
  • Try, Try Again! You will kill some plants. You may kill all your plants. It’s ok! The beautiful thing about seasons is they keep rolling around. If your spring garden is a total flop, do some research and try again with a summer garden. Keep it easy and fun!

-Claire H., ALFN Program and Market Manager

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