Gardening Tips With JJ.

Spring is only days away, and Easter flowers are blooming! The days are getting longer, and it’s naturally everyone’s favorite season because of the longer… warmer days.  With spring near, it’s time to start planning your garden.

The best place to start is to get a good soil test to ensure your soil ph, and nutrients are where they need to be. There are many D.I.Y soil testers, and kits on the market that can be bought online or in stores. For the best results, I would recommend that you send a soil sample to a lab for more detailed testing. If you are unsure how to do a soil test contact your local extension office for help. Image result for soil tester kit ut extension

Next, you want to consider what you want to grow in your garden depending on seasonal weather. Many plants can be started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date to provide starter plants for an earlier harvest. A few of the summer crops that can be started indoors are cucumbers, tomatoes, squash, peppers, herbs, okra, and pumpkins. Image result for seasonal planting calendar east tn

The great news is that you don’t need an expensive greenhouse to start seedlings! All you will need is a seed starter kit, and a spot near a sunny window. It’s also important to take good care of the soil you grow along with regular testing, and fertilizing.

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It’s also important to add plenty of compost to your soil every year because a good compost feeds the microbial life in the soil and boosts fertility while helping the soil hold moisture during dry weather.

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If you’re a beginning gardener, there is no need to go big your first year. A small raised bed can bring big yields when planted properly, and there are many examples of raised bed plans that can be researched on the internet to use for inspiration.

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Most importantly… let’s not forget safety! Remember to always wear gloves when working in the garden or using fertilizers to protect those hands for future gardening!  This is Jimmy Mahaffey wishing everyone a happy gardening adventure. For more in depth advice, feel free to contact me at or follow Rural Resources Farm and Food Education center on Facebook