“The key when looking for location to plant a garden is to look for full sun and a good water source,” Kevin Livingston said.
Other important elements, he explained, involve removing any existing grass in the garden spot and building up the soil.
Livingston advises the most economical way to do that is by composting.
Knowing the type of soil is also important in preparing a garden spot. A soil test can be taken in to the county extension office and analyzed by a lab as to it needs for optimum growing results.
The cost of soil testing is $10. To find out more about soil testing, visit http://www.caes.uga.edu/extension/douglas/anr/soiltesting.pdf. Sample bags are available from the Douglas County Extension Office, at 6279 Fairburn Road.
Douglasville organic gardener and master gardener Kathy Speer used the soil testing service for each of her raised beds to determine the need for lime and the right amounts of nutrients required for healthy, productive plant growth.
She said Livingston was very helpful in taking the results and helping her determine the proper amounts based on her garden size.
Planning the garden is another important element in successful gardening, taking into account proper spacing of plants.
Plant selection is also important, because certain types are more resistant to disease and drought, said the agent.
“Planting the right plant at the right place is ideal,” Speer said.
Successful gardening can be done by anyone, regarding of available space, Livingston explained.
“People can grow vegetables in 4- by 8-foot boxes, quarter-acre plots or containers,” he pointed out. “The only requirements are soil and water.”
More and more people are turning to gardening, he said.
“Individuals are planting gardens for a number of reasons, including the ability to control what goes into the plant. They also like to control the diversity of varieties and simply want fresh vegetables from their home garden.”
The economic value of successfully growing food from a home garden is an important trend.
It is also an excellent way to get outdoors for recreation and exercise, Livingston notes, and a source of pride in their gardening accomplishments.
“We are seeing people take great pride in their gardens.”