Friday, June 30, 2017

Garden talk by a light green thumb by Jennifer Davis

"Mommy!”  My six year old son began.  “You have a green thumb.”  I chuckled to myself and said  “Thank you.”  I do love to garden and grow my own food, but I would probably describe my thumb as more of a light green color.  With that being said, I reached out to Marge Govoni, a local gardening expert, to offer some advice to those with light green thumbs like me or with no green thumbs at all.  

Everyone has to begin somewhere when it comes to gardening.  Maybe it is your love for the outdoors or the feeling you get when you bring a basket full of produce into your home from your own garden.  My sons and I get so excited when we go out to our garden and grab some things to have with dinner; tomatoes with our salad or green beans for a side.  The taste is so delicious and fresh.  We had a small garden in a community garden in Charlestown MA, before we moved to Maine.  There is nothing like eating vegetables out of the garden,” Govoni said.  “That is when you realize how tasteless the vegetables you buy in a supermarket are. Also I found the prices at Farmers Markets too high for me” may sound great in theory, but one might ask how you get to the harvesting stage; what are the basics to start a garden?  “One, soil preparation; having the right pH levels, composting and keeping your garden weed free so they are not competing for the nutrients in the soil,”  Govoni states.  “Two, sufficient sun and water, and three, removing diseased leaves and plants so it doesn't spread to other plants.”  

Personally, I prefer to grow without using pesticides or herbicides.  “Anyone who gardens should check into Reemay to cover their seedlings until they are big and strong enough to survive an infestation of insects,” Govoni said.  “This product is similar to cheesecloth and will allow the sun and water to go through it.”

At this point in the season, gardens should be started.  “Your seeds and plants should be in the ground now,”  said Govoni.  “Plants should have been planted in early June and some seeds prior to that.”  Whether you begin your garden from seed or purchase seedlings from a local greenhouse, be prepared for failure, because that is when you have the best success.  “There are so many aspects of gardening and methods that I have found there is no wrong way to garden, after you are aware of the basics,” Govoni states.  “You would be very surprised at how many unorthodox gardening techniques work for some people so just enjoy it and learn from your mistakes.”

Gardening is hard work but very rewarding if you are willing to put in the effort.  Best of luck to everyone out there; those with green thumbs and those with no green thumb at all.  I hope this summer lends to an abundant harvest of the fresh foods you love from your very own garden.

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