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How can I make my vegetable garden more productive?

There are many techniques you can use for a more productive vegetable garden. Top dress your raised beds with compost and earthworm castings and cover with mulch to increase soil fertility and improve moisture retention. Foliar feed plants with compost tea, seaweed, and algae extracts to aid plant growth and improve crop yields. Use trellises to make better use of Read more…


How can I prevent weeds from growing in my garden?

Raised beds generally require less weeding than in-ground gardens. Soil conditions are more controlled with less foreign seeds, and the planter sides are barriers against invading plants. Fill the tops of raised beds with sterile bag soil and mulch around plants to prevent airborn seeds from taking root. Keep the grounds around your garden free of weeds and mow tall Read more…


What is companion planting and how can it benefit my garden?

Companion planting is the technique of growing crops next to other plants that provide natural benefits such as improved soil fertility, pest control, and productivity. Consult the table below for help choosing companion plants for your garden. Planting Crop Companion Plants Incompatible Plants Effects and Benefits Alliums (garlic, leeks, onions and chives) Tomatoes, carrots, fruit trees, strawberries, roses, beets, cucumbers, Read more…


How can I extend the growing season?

Raised garden beds help you get a head start on the growing season because soil temperatures in planters generally stay 8 to 15 degrees warmer than in-ground gardens. You can further extend the season by planting seedlings indoors, under lights or in front of a sunny window, and by setting up simple cold frame structures over raised beds to help Read more…


How can I get rid of slugs and snails in my garden?

An infestation of slugs and snails can decimate a vegetable garden when humid and damp weather rolls in. To thwart these pests it takes a variety of techniques. Barriers and deterrents are your first line of defense. Hard-leafed plants with strong scents such as rosemary, lavender and basil can be used as an aromatic wall that discourages slugs and snails Read more…


How do I prepare healthy soil for my garden?

Healthy soil is alive with beneficial microorganisms, fungi, and earthworms that promote nutrient exchange and guard against pathogens, increase moisture capacity and reduce plant stress. Ideal soil has a loamy texture, complex structure, good fertility, and adequate drainage. You can buy quality soil in bags or in bulk, or save money by preparing your own soil mixture. A fertile soil Read more…


How do I keep insects from eating my garden?

You can organically control insect pests by setting traps, by using companion planting with insectary plants, and by using organically derived sprays or diatomaceous earth when necessary. Keeping backyard chickens or attracting beneficial wildlife such as insect eating birds, lizards and amphibians will help to keep insect populations in check. Removing unnecessary habitat such as tall grass, woody debris, and infested Read more…


How do I find my climate zone for gardening?

To find your climate zone, refer to the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. Your climate zone determines which plants will be safe from a killing frost in an average year and helps you know the earliest date when you can plant crops outside. When buying seeds or comparing plant varieties, look for the zone hardiness rating on the packaging and follow Read more…


How do I keep burrowing pest such as gophers out of my garden?

Half-inch steel hardware cloth attached to the bottom of raised beds is an effect barrier against gophers and burrowing rodents. Hardware cloth is available at most hardware stores in 3 and 4 foot wide rolls and can be cut to length using metal shears. Be sure to wear gloves, as the cut edges can be sharp. Bend the edges of the material Read more…


How can I improve soil drainage and aeration?

Soil drainage and aeration are key factors to plant growth and a successful garden. After setting up your raised beds, loosen the ground below 8-12 inches using a turning fork or shovel.  If the ground is very hard or mostly clay, a drainage layer of loose round gravel is recommended. The drainage layer should be equal to about 10-20 percent Read more…