• Florida Family Living

Easy steps for a successful Garden

1. Know your growing zone! – In the Manasota area we are USDA Hardiness Zones 9b and 10a

2. Make a list of the items your family enjoys eating. – Determine how much produce your family can reasonably consume during key harvest times. How much produce do you need? Should you plant 2 plants or 4 plants? – Can you freeze, dry, or pickle your produce to prolong its shelf life? (if so, then you can grow more!). . – From this list, start to research specific varieties. Look to AAS Winners for varieties that have been trialed for garden performance meaning you will be a more successful gardener.

3. Decide which of these plants you will grow from seed or buy as transplants. – Now add “Days to harvest” to your list from step 2. These can be found on labels and seed packets. The longer the days until your harvest, the longer the growing season you will need. Some vegetables needed to be started indoors or purchased as a transplant so you have enough time for harvesting before your first frost in the fall. – Of your list of favorites, determine which crops can be grown early then replaced with summer crops then replaced again with fall crops. For example, planting peas in the spring, then tomatoes in the summer and back to peas for the fall. – Also, from your list of favorites, determine which ones can be grown as companion plants.

4. Plan your garden space (in-ground, raised beds, containers) accordingly. – What can of light does your produce need? Make certain the location is in an area that gets plenty of sun for the crops you choose.

5. Know your soil or buy good quality gardening mixes

6. Follow suggested sowing and planting dates. – In many areas, March is the perfect time for either starting seeds indoors or out. Check google for the best days for your particular plants.

7. Want to get your garden started with starter plants?  – Find many varieties available from your local garden retailer

8. Start Composting   – As the gardening season goes on, you can use compost to top-dress your gardens.

9. Make sure to include some pollinator-friendly flowers to ensure your vegetables are properly pollinated.

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