LEARN AS YOU GROW
Beginning gardeners, take note. Growing your own food has never been more fun or rewarding with tips and tricks from Crystal Broussard. A relatively new gardener herself, Crystal offers valuable advice for those who long to raise their own vegetables and fruits—whether to honor a family tradition or for the simple sake of being more self-sufficient.
By CRYSTAL A. BROUSSARD
So here we are a few days into spring, and winter has forgotten to move on—at least in Kentucky. As a gardener, I’m okay with that. I bought a small greenhouse, and I have my seeds and I’m ready to get them going. Along with the task of starting seedlings, another step in preparing for a new gardening season is preparing the soil by adding compost.
Rejuvenating the soil with mulched up leaves and compost every year is a must. New gardeners don’t realize the importance of this until their crops fizzle and don’t reach their full potential. I made this rookie mistake last year. My husband and I expanded our garden plot, and we didn’t use compost on the previous year’s plot. Even though we changed the flow of our rows from north to south to east to west, the eastern end of the rows didn’t produce as much harvest as the other end that was “new” garden area.
I picked up a tiller in February, and, now that I know what needs to be done, I’ve been itching to turn the soil over in my garden plot and mix in my compost. In the fall, I collected leaves from my mom’s and other people’s yards, then I distributed the leaves over my garden plot and mulched them up with the mower. I plan to purchase a load of compost from my local cow or horse farm to mix in as well.
Despite not composting the year before last—thanks in part to my lazy husband, who didn’t want to shovel compost—we still yielded enough vegetables and fruits last year to share with family and friends. We even had enough to put some away for the winter months. It’s a good thing I have a tendency to over plant.
Most experienced gardeners know that spring planting can be tricky. The ups and downs of temperatures, spring storms, and the demand for time are obstacles that can hinder preparation and planting. My little greenhouse will help me get my plants started and ready to go. As soon as the weather clears and the temperature warms, we can work our schedules around to get the crops planted.
Here’s to a bountiful growing season!
Crystal A. Broussard lives in Hillview, Kentucky, with her husband and children. She learned her gardening skills from watching her grandparents and by trial and error.