Tips for Starting Your SIP Garden

Gardening seems to be on everyone’s minds these days as we spend our time sheltering in place.  Whether you live on a bit of property, have a city lot, or live in an apartment, starting a garden is a fun and rewarding way to bring some calm into your life.  Here are some tips for starting your SIP garden.

Where Do You Begin?

It all starts with your soil.  Are you planting into an existing bed or planter?  Be sure to add compost to bring nutrients into the soil.  Work the compost into the top layer of your planting area and top dress as needed.  Mid-way through the growing season is a great time to top off your beds as compost not only adds food for your plants, but helps with weed control & moisture retention during the hot summer days. 

Have hard unworkable soil?  Dig out as much as you can and add a top layer of good pre-fertilized soil.  This will give your plants the start they need to grow strong and healthy.

Growing in containers?  Be sure to choose a soil that is specific to container gardening.  Not all soils are formulated the same and smaller pots have different needs than a large planter. 

Choosing Your Plants

So now you’ve decided to start your garden, what are you going to grow?  A good mixture of fruits, vegetables and flowers is always a great start.  Some fun ideas include:

  • Salsa Garden: Roma tomato, tomatillo, jalapeno & cilantro
  • Ratatouille Garden: Eggplant, heirloom tomato, zucchini & basil
  • Pizza Garden: San Marzano tomato, bell peppers & basil
  • Cutting Garden: sweet peas, zinnia, sunflowers & cosmos
  • Cocktail Garden: Lemons, limes, basil, thyme & strawberries

Having a hard time finding plants right now?  Call ahead to nurseries and stores to find out availability and ask if they can put something aside for you. Not all can accommodate, but everyone wants to be helpful these days. Join a group on social media like Sonoma County Gardening or NextDoor and ask if anyone has plant starts they’d like to sell or trade for.  You can also order some seeds and start some plants for yourself.  It may be a bit late in the season, but there’s still time to get your plants in the ground for late summer harvesting. 

Watch Out for Predators

Gophers, moles, and garden pests are all out to get your precious plants.  If you are planting into the ground be sure to add a gopher basket, and if you have a raised planter use hardware cloth at the bottom to prevent them from digging underneath.  Keep an eye out for garden pests like pill bugs, pincer bugs, slugs & snails.  Look for a natural option for keeping them away like diatomaceous earth, especially if you have pets and kids in your yard.  Also watch out for the neighborhood cat.  Your newly turned soil is their favorite spot to do their business.  Lay wire grates over your plants & seedlings to stop them from using your garden as their litter box. 

Questions?

Send your questions to us and we are happy to help! 

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