Tips on How to Start Your Urban Garden

By Justine Love, special to

Spring is less than two weeks away and my urge to play in the dirt is overwhelming. I’m so ready to get out there and start my garden because this year I’m going all out.

I’ll be planting vegetables that I’ve never grown before, such as: beets, leaks and celery. My target date to get out and prepare the ground is St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. However, I will start planting on Mother’s Day (that’s my Mother’s Day present to myself).

This will be my 10th year as an urban gardener and I’m so excited to be able to give other tips that I have learned over the past decade. Here are a few:

  • Start small and plant easy things, such as parsley, mint and basil.
  • If you live in an apartment or condo, utilize window sills or balconies — plant in containers.
  • Go to the thrift store and purchase pots. They are cheaper and often times you are supporting a non-profit organization.
  • Choose to plant things you use and like on a daily basis. If you use lots of fresh herbs, plant them. Make it a girlfriend project with wine and cheese.
  • Pick a day to start your planting (my day is Mother’s Day).
  • Read the literature on when is the best time to plant and what works in your area.
  • Water before you go to work and after you get home (make it a part of your daily routine). I water at 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. in the warm months.
  • Get yourself some cute gardener’s gloves, shoes (plastic clogs are great), and I wear a baseball cap. Buy girl friendly tools (they do come in color) — spade, hoe, rake, and watering can are essentials.
  • Carve out down time for yourself so you can play in the dirt (it will rejuvenate your spirit and your taste buds).
  • Ask a seasoned gardener for tips.
  • Come visit the WPGC Urban Garden hosted by Justine Love, Lake Ridge Nursery and Montgomery College Master Gardeners at the Washington Home and Garden Show. The Washington Home and Garden Show will be at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center March 22-24. Event times are Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Enjoy featured appearances by Ahmed Hassan of HGTV’s Yard Crashers and Nicole Curtis of DIY’s Rehab Addict. Hundreds of experts will be on site for all your remodeling needs.

    For more information and discount tickets, go to the Washington Home and Garden Show’s website. For more information on Lake Ridge Nursey, click here. And for information on ECO City Farms, an organization that focuses on community food issues in Prince George’s County, click here.


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