Hey, pro-gardeners and aspiring gardeners. Mrs. MIgardener (Sindy) here! Today I would like to share with you 4 ways to work on your garden without being in the garden yet. For many of us here in the North, we are still getting snow and cold. Brrr. But even when the plants are sleeping we can still come up with some things to do now to gear up when Spring comes. Follow along on the post below for all the details.
1. Start A Compost Pile
Building a compost pile is as easy as just throwing food scraps in a bucket, to creating a mounded oasis of it in a little area of your backyard. Composting is very beneficial to do since it will break down organic matter and nutrients to later nourish your garden. Just like "You are what you eat" So will your garden be of what you feed it. Recommended things to compost are fruits, veggies, eggshells, leaves. I would suggest avoiding throwing in the compost any large seeds, like avocado pits since they are slow to break down. Also, keep in mind that if anything thrown with a seed could sprout later in your garden, think tomato or pepper seeds. You can find more in-depth tips on how to start one and maintain one in the link below. More HERE.
2. Save up coffee grounds
This is a secret that many might not know of yet. Coffee shops throw out hundreds of pounds of coffee grounds per week. Ask to be on the waitlist and make sure to provide a food-safe tub as many don't go through the extra effort to discard them in a bin of their own. Starbucks gives its coffee grounds to customers for garden use through the Grounds For The Garden Program! All you have to do is give them a call, and go pick them up when available. If you do not live by Starbucks. I would still suggest giving your local coffee shop a call to see if they can, most of the time they are okay with it since the grounds would just go to waste. Alternatively, if you make your own coffee at home, start tossing and saving those coffee grounds to your compost pile. Coffee grounds are great to throw into the compost because they add more organic matter, increase soil tilth, increase aeration, water absorption, and offer rich amounts of nitrogen. That is FREE fertilizer for your plants! Adding coffee grounds to your garden will not acidify the soil contrary to popular belief. This is because the acidity of the grounds is transferred into the coffee drinking and what is left behind has a pH of around 6.5-7.0 which is perfect for the garden.
3. Make a worm bin
Worm bins are inexpensive to set up and a breeze to maintain. The worm castings are great to add to potting soil and raised beds. Worm castings have over 60 micronutrients and trace minerals, such as calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphates, and potash. They also help stimulate growth because of its humic acid. They are inexpensive to start and are a great one-time investment, that you will be able to harvest from for a long time. View video here for tips.
VIDEO: HOW TO START A WORM BIN FOR $10 Watch Here
4. Mulch on a Budget
Mulch is an excellent soil cover. It helps with water retention, breaks down and adds organic matter to the soil, creates a home for beneficial insects (those are good bugs), and lessens the daunting weeding of the garden later. A great way to source mulch is to get woodchips! Don't pay for them, simply call your local municipal tree company to deliver free wood chips. Often they do not advertise this because they are busy, but just like getting coffee grounds if you ask for it, they will almost always do it. If I "buy" wood chips it is almost never for the wood chips themselves but the gas to get delivered. More often than not though, they will offer them for totally free or you will have to pick them up. Wood chips are an economical way to mulch your garden.
I hope these 4 tips help you plant some ideas in things you can gather for a lush garden this year. Let me know if you have tried any or which one will you try.