As you pick your way through the grocery store aisle, you spot your weekly regular groceries that you need to make your signature summer dishes. Tomatoes, cucumbers, okra… all of them are essential ingredients to your successful dishes. But wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to trek to the store for at least some of those ingredients?It doesn’t matter if you have a sprawling backyard or a small patch of concrete. Either way, you can grow a garden that can feed you all summer long. Craig Jenkins Sutton, co-owner and president of Topiarius, gave us a few do’s and don’ts you should follow when planning and planting your own garden:
— Do evaluate and build the soil: You can purchase soil test kits at any garden center. If you’re an urban gardener, the soil may contain contaminants, so you may need to build raised beds and bring in organic soils.
— Do research best pest control and fertilizer products: To help reduce weeds, a layer of mulch one to two inches thick over the soil creates a barrier that can prevent the easy growth of weeds.
— Don’t water your plants with a sprinkler: Watering your plants with a sprinkler is not a good way to measure how much water they’re getting.
— Don’t be afraid of planting flowers: Planting a few flowers is actually a smart thing to do. These plants can attract beneficial bugs and make your garden look a little prettier.
— Don’t forget to rotate your plants each year: Disease can build up and wipe out your plants as soon as they’re planted, so remember to rotate their location.