Fertile Facts

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I learn a lot from my husband Guy who you know has been the head gardener for Ciao Italia. And now that March is here, I want to share some of his words of wisdom with you.

Did you know that late spring snow and rain are often referred to as "poor man's fertilizer' because not only are they free but they also contain micro nutrients trapped in the atmosphere that are deposited in the form of snow and rain on the garden.

Given the economic woes we find ourselves in right now, it is going to be a good gardening year as more people turn to a patch of ground or several pots to plant vegetables and herbs and save on their grocery bills. Besides, having a garden puts you in control of the foods you eat and that means healthy eating. Any small space or patio with southern exposure and at least 6 hours of sunshiine a day can be a useful space for growing vegetables. Easy things to grow in small spaces or pots are lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, bush cucumbers, and herbs like basil, parsley, thyme, tarragon and dill.

If you have a space 10 x 10 or 10 x 20, it will allow you to grow peppers, pole beans, zucchini, cherry tomatoes like sweet one-hundred, medium size Early Girl, Better Boy and late season Brandywine.

Plan for a low maintenance garden by using bio-degradable black plastic, or straw to cut down on weeding.Do not use hay, as it contains seeds. Grass clippings from your lawn is good mulch as long as it is herbicide and pesticide free. Using these materials adds organic matter to the soil and helps retain moisture.

Use composted cow manure or compost your clean vegetable refuse from your kitchen or garden to make "black gold" natural fertilizer in your compost, which can be a simple pile in one part of the garden that you keep moist with water and turn over once a week until the material has decomposed into soft fryable material like sawdust. Thank you Guy!

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