Edible Spring Planting

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Spring is around the corner. It is time to start planning and preparing your garden beds to make room for your edible summer garden! Here are tips to get you started and to help you get the most out of your garden.

The Importance of Good Soil – Good soil contributes to the overall health of the garden and can take years to create. Wayne Kessler is a member of the Growing Local Coalition in Redding (www.growinglocalshasta.org), created to increase the consumption of healthy, local foods and to create sustainable, affordable, healthy food systems in the Shasta-Cascade Region. Kessler recommends keeping a soil log to track the health of your plants and the life (worms & fungi) in your soil.

Soil test kits can be purchased to determine pH levels and deficiencies. Cover crops and compost are useful in maintaining and promoting the life of your soil. They encourage “good” bugs and fungi, and add nutrients to promote growth.

“We are just soil farmers. Once there’s good dirt, plants will take care of themselves,” says Kessler. Soil amendments can also be purchased in bags or by the yard, such as compost, mushroom compost, manure and worm castings.

Choosing the Right Seeds – If you plan to start growing from seed, it is important to choose those that grow well in your region. Many nurseries carry stock from a variety of seed companies.

Redwood Seeds, located in Manton, CA (www.redwoodseeds.net), grows and sells non-GMO, open-pollinated seeds so you can save seeds at the end of the season and use them for replanting. Owner Kalan Redwood says, “We grow the majority of what we sell and we look for varieties that will do well in the North Valley, specifically for heirlooms that are heat and drought tolerant.” Look for Redwood Seeds at your local nursery, health food stores, in some grocery stores, or online.

Summer veggies like melon, cucumber, corn & squash can be sown directly into the ground. Start tomatoes, peppers and eggplant indoors about six weeks before planting outside. Caution: Don’t plant outdoors too early, due to late frost. Earth Day (late April) to Mother’s Day is a good window. Weather will determine planting in higher elevations.

Purchase Seedlings – Planting seedlings is a simple way for the home gardener to grow a vegetable garden. By purchasing seedlings grown in and for your area, the plants have a better chance of thriving, and it’s a good way to support your local farmers. There are many local growers in the North State; your area’s farmers markets and nurseries are a great place to discover them.

Healthy Gardens certified organic nursery in Siskiyou County (www.facebook.com/HealthyGardensNursery) offers seedlings from March – June and also in the fall from Sept. – Nov. They can be purchased at Native Grounds Nursery (Mt. Shasta), Spring Hill Nursery (Mt. Shasta), Wyntour Gardens (Redding) and Peaceful Valley Farm (Grass Valley), plus the Mt. Shasta Farmers Market, garden shows and Earth Day celebrations.

Shambani Organics in Shasta County (www.shambaniorganics.com) offers organic seedlings that can be purchased at farmers markets in Chico (February), Redding (April), Red Bluff (tentatively March) and at Orchard Nutrition Center (Redding), plus various North State nurseries.

Watering During Times of Drought – The time of day and source for watering plants can make a difference in water consumption. The EPA states, “As much as 50% of the water we use outdoors is wasted from inefficient watering methods and systems.” Jeremiah Severson, from Aamigo Irrigation and Supply in Redding, recommends using drip lines for efficiency and conserving water.

Edible garden planting not only provides delicious fresh produce, but also a time to connect with nature and your family. Happy gardening! 

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Michelle Cave
About Michelle Cave

Michelle Cave is a certified Nutrition Consultant & Nutrition Educator and has been practicing for over 13 years. She studied Holistic Nutrition at Bauman College, in Berkeley, CA and is a member of the National Association of Nutrition Professionals. Find out more: www.familynutritionconnection.com

Comments

  1. Greg Dunn says:

    Greetings Local Food Enthusiasts,

    Shambani pure food seedlings are now available at Tops Fresh Market.
    At the present moment Shambani products are out of stock at Orchard Nutrition.

    Bon Appetit,

    Greg Dunn
    Shambani

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