These ten tips may seem simple when you learn them, but they follow a logical progression which ensures that you will end up with a great success. The number ten is significant because it is ten years since the Kitchen Gardens International website was first created. The ten tips are contained in an article by Roger Doiron which I found on the KGI website.

Since it’s KGI’s 10th birthday year, I’m thinking a lot about the number 10 and my own garden path over the?past 10 years. I’ve only had a garden to call my own since the spring of 2005 but before that I was a landless serf of sorts growing things on windowsills, rooftops and other people’s land. The tips below are the things I know now as a 47 year old which I wish knew as as 37 year old.?Hopefully, one or?two of them will be new to you and?help speed you along your path to becoming a better gardener.

Tip 1: Make a Garden Plan

Winging it is a perfectly acceptable approach to garden planning if you’re just looking to have fun and get a few vegetables as a bonus. It’s what I did initially and had some decent results just from making decisions on the spot about what to plant where. I later “graduated” to sketching out a plan on graph paper which would end up looking pretty scruffy by the end of the season after numerous changes were made and coffee mugs had left their mark. Moving from a paper-based plan to a computer-based one three years ago was a real game changer for me. The program allows me to make better looking plans than I could ever draw?in less time and remembers what I planted in previous growing seasons.

Tip 2: Start Early & Let There Be Light

Legginess in a basketball player or Rockettes dancer is considered a good quality but not in a tomato or pepper seedling. To get your plants and garden off to an early,?successful start, it’s important to invest in a grow lights system of some sort as the natural light of a winter windowsill is insufficient. Here, too, I graduated from one system to another as my garden and gardening passion grew. Initially, I used?a small, single light salvaged from an old fishtank. Two years ago, I upgraded it to a new system I designed myself using a stainless steel cart and 2 high-powered growlights. It wasn’t cheap (about $450) but I see it as a sound long term investment and the price was about $200 cheaper than the ready-made systems that one can buy.

Tip 3: Sow Early and Often

Many gardeners I encounter in my region aren’t aware that many crops (salad greens, peas, potatoes, etc) can be sown successfully in cool, damp soils. More still have yet to discover the magic of succession planting. ?By this, I mean sowing seeds in areas of your garden at regular intervals throughout the growing season so as to be able to enjoy a long and steady parade of vegetables. This tip is especially important if you’re trying to get a lot of food out of a tight space. Instead of planting a long row?of 8-12 feet lengthwise down your beds once a month, try planting 4 short ones of 3-4 feet across the width of your bed every week.

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