Archive Post #9: Intro to Organic Gardening
Organic Gardening: Introduction
The Rocky Mountain region has a diverse range of gardening conditions and challenges with plant hardiness zones ranging from USDA Zone 3 in the higher elevations, Zone 4 in the foothills and Zone 5 in the plains. You might be able to find moist areas along rivers and creeks however in general we have a fairly dry climate and it seems that drought can occur almost anywhere and anytime of the year. It also seems that our soil can vary dramatically between an acidic to alkaline nature. Not to mention the structure of the soil can also vary from crushed granite to sand or heavy clay. If all that wasn’t bad enough we have all experienced the rapid temperature fluctuations in the winter and early spring season causing hail storms and overnight freezes well into the growing season. Despite all these obstacles it is undeniable that our region is rich in plant species and many people in the area have very successful and rewarding gardens with each passing year. Fortunately with proper planning and soil preparation, most plants can be adapted to grow in a variety of climates that may even differ from their native one. As we get closer to spring I will be talking about some of the different steps we can take to help us be more prepared. We will be discussing a number of things such as the best seeds to buy, when to buy them and when to plant them. Also, which seeds need an early start and should be planted indoors vs. which seeds work best planted directly into the soil outdoors. Most of these steps are still a month or two or three away but there are a few things that the enthusiastic gardener can start thinking about even as early as January.
I know it seems to most that it is still too early to start thinking about your garden however I find that January is the perfect month to get a head start on your garden plans. After all some cool season crops such as onions, lettuces, cabbages and a variety of herbs can be planted as early as February. As you begin to plan your garden the best place to start is to consider your garden space. One easy way to do this is to take a few measurements and draw out a garden plan. Make this garden plan as simple or elaborate as you like, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Now that you have an idea of your gardens available space you can start to think about what types of plants you would like to grow. If you have lots of space then obviously the sky is the limit but if you have limited space then consider growing vine plants such as cucumbers, pole beans, melons, garden peas and others that will grow vertically on supports. You can consider constructing a fence or putting up a garden netting to support those plants that like to climb. Once you have an idea of what types of plants you will want to grow it is best to get an early start on your seed purchasing. I have found that if you wait too long then some popular seed varieties can sell out fast, not to mention we will be planting some of these seeds as early as February. You will also want to consider the quickest, easiest and best ways of starting your seedlings indoors. This is easily accomplished with a few inexpensive garden tools. One way to get started is with either an organic soil formulated for seedlings such as FoxFarm Light Warrior or you can make it even simpler and try using a seedling tray like a Root Riot. In addition you can speed up your seedlings germination and ensure a near 100% success rate by using a humidity dome like a humidity dome and aseedling heat mat. The humidity dome will cover your seedlings, trapping heat and helping ensure they stay moist while the heat mat warms the starter media resulting in much quicker results. This heating process will also help to create more humidity within the dome creating your own miniature greenhouse. With these simple and inexpensive tools you can be successful starting your own seeds at home with minor effort.
These few steps should get you going this month and help you to be prepared for having the best growing season you have had yet! Good luck with everything and remember that you can always call us at 1-855-54-HYDRO or come by the storefront (Victory Hydro Gardening) for any advice or information you are searching for.
Thanks for stopping in this week!