Home gardening has regained new popularity among individuals of all ages, backgrounds or residence....as we find look for economic ways to provide food for the family and connect with nature. This month on "It's About You", Rick Durham, UK Consumer Horticulture Extension Specialist provides tips on the basic steps of gardening and shows us how to extend our gardening season. He also explains the differences in planting organic and conventional gardens. Jim Embry, Director of the Lexington based Sustainable Communities Network, shows us how community gardens are a good way to connect kids with food and the environment and explains how any community can start a gardening project.

Core Messages:

  • The essential ingredients for maintaining a garden is finding a plot of land or container that will have access to sunlight at least 6-8 hours daily, be relatively level and well-drained and have a water source.
  • Gardening can be done in any location- a backyard, patio or windowsill- as long as the essential ingredients-sun, soil, water-are available.
  • Summer is not the end to the gardening season, but only a beginning for cool weather vegetables. Now's the time to plant spinach, mustard greens, sweet corn, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, or turnips for fresh vegetables throughout the fall.
  • The growing season of some cool weather vegetables can be extended by using plastic-type protective coverings. Sunny locations in a sheltered area also contribute to the success of year round gardening in Kentucky.
  • There are two primary production methods to use in growing gardens- organic and conventional. Organic gardening is a method of maintaining and replenishing soil fertility without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and fertilizers.
  • Home gardeners can manage an "organic" garden by keeping a close watch for pest and disease problems, choose plant varieties that will grow well under organic conditions, and add organic matter to the garden through the use of compost, crop rotation and utilizing cover crops.
  • Home or community gardens not only provide fresh produce for the table, but also are learning "labs" for kids. Through gardening, kids understand the connection of nature and food; learn to work together; learn how to take care of the environment and be physically active.
  • Community gardens can be started anywhere with the assistance of local governments, faith-based organizations or non-profit organizations. Find ways to engage your community in growing local produce and connecting with nature.