Now that Spring has officially sprung, it’s time to plan steps towards your healthy, organic garden.  Beyond the reward of eating what you grow, gardens provide the gardener with many advantages:

  1. Health (moving your body – bending, stooping, lifting, etc.,, sun/Vitamin D, organic, tasty food)
  2. Environmental (walk to your yard to get your salad)
  3. Enjoyment (time spent touching the earth,  and relaxing in nature)
  4. Pride (look at MY garden!)

What are the green golden rules of gardening (pun intended:)?

  • Avoid synthetic pesticides/fertilizers – they harm our precious bees, ladybugs, and worms, poison our pets, and run into our streams and waters, poisoning us
  • Choose healthy ways to boost up the soil, keep plants healthy and strong
  • Bring in beneficial insects (home improvement stores sell lady bugs, or start a bee hive) – they help keep pests low and pollinate plants
  • Grow plants that attract insects – like the Sunflowers, Rosemary, Lavender, Cosmos and Salvia plants
  • Use compost – organic matter – to allow the soil to hold more water and the plants to grow deeper roots
  • Use mulch to even out soil temperatures; it encourages good soil texture, suppresses weeds, decomposes to give nutrients, and saves water by slowing evaporation
  • Grow plants that thrive in your region – grow locally
  • Use a drip system. Put plants with similar watering needs near each other so that you can tailor the system for most efficiency
  • Select plants that thrive in hot weather for summertime gardens – and plants that need more water in cooler months

Check out the University of California Contra Costa Master Gardeners for information on useful tips to grow your own fruits and vegetables in Contra Costa. They even have a special Food Garden Action Plan for  our ongoing drought.