Get Gardening with Farmer Jo: Prepping Your Garden for a Great Growing Season

Here at Ottawa Farm Fresh, first and foremost we grow soil.

Soil is the foundation of everything we do, and everything we need as humans. Our priority is building healthy, vigorous soil that sustains both us as humans, and the teeming microbiome that lives its life under our feet.

You know what’s exciting though? Rich, vigorous, healthy soil grows the most delicious vegetables you’ll ever taste! Filled with vitality, nutrition, colour, and most importantly, FLAVOUR! This is why our carrots are the most delicious you’ve ever tasted - our soil is teeming with life.

You too can grow delicious vegetables at home simply by adopting a few of the garden prep techniques that we use here at the Farm.

You’ll reap the rewards of a well prepped garden all season long!

Prepping Your Garden for a Great Growing Season
Fork, don’t flip: Soil is a complex structure, filled with life that develops in very particular ways. In order to maintain that structure, and reap the benefits of the complex microbiome it is important to disturb it as little as possible. Here at the Farm we begin preparing the soil by forking rather than flipping, maintaining the soil structure while making it easier for water and roots to penetrate deeply. Click here for a forking demo with Farmer Jo

Soil Fertility: Healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy people! When your soil is healthy and filled with fertility your plants will thrive and your veggies will be delicious. At the Farm we build soil fertility with a few techniques - organic compost, cover crops, and organic fertilisers. Farmer Jo has found most home gardens actually have high soil fertility, so before adding too much fertiliser to your garden soil we suggest getting your soil tested so that you know what it actually needs.

Mulch: Have you ever noticed that in a natural landscape there is very little exposed soil? Nature abhors exposed soil, leaving it vulnerable to erosion and washing vital nutrients away. Mulch is an ideal way to protect the soil and retain vital moisture, whether that is with a covering of straw or grass clippings, or by planting a green (or living) mulch like crimson clover, buckwheat, or alfalfa. You know we love cover crops here at Ottawa Farm Fresh and we’ll be using green mulch in our own home garden this season.

Irrigation: Irrigation might not seem like something you need to consider this early in the season, but when you live in an area that can get as hot and dry as Ottawa can in the summer, access to water for regular irrigation needs to be top of mind. Lack of water can cause your veggies to be dry in texture and hot or bitter in flavour - not really something you’re looking for in a home grown carrot! Irrigation options include hand watering, sprinklers, or if you want to get really serious, drip irrigation like we use at the Farm.

Squirrel Control: This one has less to do with flavour, and more to do with overall vegetable garden success. Urban gardens are notorious for issues with animals - tiny furry thieves that like to treat your well tended garden as an all you can eat buffet! Deterrents include making your garden less appealing by removing things that might be attracting them, like bird feeders, covering your crops with row cover or netting to create a barrier (you'll find some at our upcoming spring garden day), or constructing a full defensive system, like this wire garden box.

If you are interested in learning more gardening tips and tricks from Farmer Jo, take a look at our Farmer to Gardener presentations from last year; Seed Starting 101, Garden Planning, and Garden Care.

Spring Garden Pick-Up

Join us on March 25 from 10am-1pm for our first open day of the season! We’ll have all that you need to get your garden going as soon as the season springs.

Ottawa Farm Fresh Garden Supplies

* Organic Seeds
* Potting Mix
* Compost
* Organic Fertiliser
* Row Cover
* Insect Netting
* Bio-char
* Geotextile Ground Cover

We’re also expecting to have the very first spring greens of the season. Mark the date in your calendar - we can't wait to see you!

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