Jan 10, 2014

Now that the holidays are over, it's time to think about the coming spring and how you can best prepare your garden for a bountiful harvest. Mike Nocks from White Harvest Seed Company will be at the Metropolitan Lawn & Garden Show Feb. 7-9, 2014 at the American Royal Center to gvie presentations on heirloom seeds, hybrids and GMOs. In the meantime, we asked him for tips, tricks and trends to get your garden growing.

(Photo Credit: White Harvest Seed Company)
What is the most important trend for this year and for spring?
There has been a growing movement in the past few years of folks wanting healthier, safer renewable food sources. Heirloom seeds give gardeners all three of those things. Heirlooms are non-genetically modified varieties and when grown properly, they provide a seed supply for years to come. Another thing we've noticed becoming more popular is sprouting seed for quick and highly nutritious food sources.

If someone wanted to make one change to their garden this year, what should it be?
Besides heirloom seeds for supplying your future seed needs in case of limited supply, I would suggest looking into condensed gardening techniques. This is where different varieties of seeds are planted closer together to maximize production in space available. This makes it possible to grow more food for the family's future needs and learn how to store it long-term. It allows you to turn your yard and flower beds into your personal supermarket!

When planning a new garden space, what is the most important first step?
Gardens need three things to be successful: Good fertilized soil, reliable water source and adequate light. Soil can be revitalized and water can be brought in (most of the time), but since most plants need at minimum six hours of sunlight daily, be sure to plan out your garden space so it gets plenty of sun. Then focus on the soil and water needs.

Name five major DIY organic gardening tips that anyone could take advantage of now.

  • Raised bed and weed-free gardening. The results that can be obtained in condensed, soil-less gardening will amaze you. For instance, you can harvest 100 quarts of beans from a 4' x 16' raised bed in a year, or over 250 pounds of tomatoes off from a single plant.
  • Composting. You can never have enough quality compost for your gardening needs. Consistent, simple techniques yield benefits.
  • Learn seed saving and proper storage techniques. They can protect your family's future and save money.
  • Be willing to try new planting and growing techniques. Don't say, "I've never tried that before, but I know it won't work!"
  • Use all-natural fertilizers and insect and plant disease control. If folks realized how toxic certain chemicals are, they would stop using them right away.
Come by and see us and we will explain in further detail!

In your opinion, what are the most essential gardening tools?

That all depends on how you garden. Container gardening needs only a high-quality hand hoe and watering can. Raised bed gardening needs minimal tools but a good watering system. Conventional row cropping gardens need a high-quality scuffle hoe and good tiller or mantis.

Why should someone stop by and see you at the show?

If folks are looking for high-quality heirloom garden seeds that allow them to protect their families' future food source), high-quality gardening and preparedness books (you can never have enough valuable resource material), high-quality garden tools and supplies (which make gardening fun) or just some good old-fashioned gardening advice, we are the booth to stop at! We want folks to be successful in their gardening experience and we will do all we can to make that happen!

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