Chapter 3: P17
Trove Table Talk: Growing a Successful Garden
Before I moved to Ohio, my home was nestled in the northwest hills of Connecticut. It was full of rolling hills, grassy meadows, and farms to shop for flowers and plants. I loved visiting White Flower Farm to gather materials for my garden. When I moved to Columbus, I went from living on three acres of land with flower beds, gardens, and a tree-lined property to an apartment with limited outdoor space. I wanted to make the best of it, so I signed up for a garden plot and began gathering seeds to get started!
Create a Layout
Like designing a room, you need a layout. Start with a good foundation then find the perfect items and lay them out to create a beautiful space. Before you dig into the soil, thoughtfully select what you want to grow and how it will be arranged.
Lay the Foundation
You need to have good soil for a successful garden, that is your foundation! If you have sod or grass, you need to remove the top layer. If the plot isn’t grassy, start by removing the weeds, rocks, sticks, and debris. Then it’s time to till the soil. I dig about a foot down and flip the entire area of soil using a shovel. If your garden plot is larger, you may need to use a rototiller.
Fertilize the Soil
Select compost, manure or your fertilizer of choice. Spread it throughout the garden plot and rake it into the soil. Next, add some healthy topsoil and let it sit for a few days before planting seeds. Be sure the area is loose before you begin planting.
Plant, Plant, Plant!
For this step, you will need seeds, organic seed starting soil, Jiffy seed starter, pots, and a large tray. To be sure the seeds take, I plant them in pairs and bring the pots inside every night. I water all of them in the morning before I place them outside on the deck, and occasionally give them a light watering at night depending on how warm it is. I continue this routine until they grow up to a sprout.
This is where the real fun begins! Loosen the soil and position the plants. In my garden, I put tomatoes on the outer edges, basil, and lettuce in the front and give cucumbers and zucchini room to sprawl out in the center.
Tend to the Garden
Now comes the work! I recommend watering your garden early in the morning before the day gets too hot. Check on it once more in the evening and water again as needed. Clean the plants once a week to get rid of dead leaves. If you’re planting tomatoes, do not prune them until they are at least 1-2 feet tall. There’s no proof it leads to more produce, but it works best for me!
Keep an eye out for holes in leaves. If you spot some, there are various vegetable sprays available to prevent bugs from destroying your hard work! Spray at dusk on the underside of the leaves and this should resolve the problem.
Enjoy Your Hard Work!
After months of watering, cleaning, and taking care of the plants, your hard work will provide you with great produce! There is nothing better than adding fresh vegetables to a meal. If you’re lacking in outdoor space or feel intimidated by gardening, start small with container gardening! At Trove, you will find an assortment of pots, woven baskets, and vases that would make wonderful homes for plants.
If you're not sure where to begin, pick up one of our gardening books to get started! They include tips for taking care of all kinds of plants and inspiration for decorating with greenery.