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How Does Your DC Garden Grow?

It’s already that time, you guys! That’s how you know spring is almost here…. it’s seed sowing time. I’m so excited to start in on my vegetable garden, I’ve got my grow light out, I’ve got all my books (this and this) on my coffee table and I’ve been madly perusing the Seed Savers Exchange website. But I got a little overwhelmed with where and when, exactly, to start, so last weekend I sat down  to talk a little bit with Meredith Shepherd of the DC-based organic home gardening service Love & Carrots and get her advice for starting your own small home garden.

Here are a few of her tips:

  • Grow herbs. Meredith advises the best way to get started gardening is to design and grow a small herb garden, especially if you’re a renter. Her favorites are lavender, sweet woodruff, lemon verbena and chives.
  • Don’t over water or under water. Read up on what you plant and what kind of soil and water level it needs so you don’t waste your time or drown your plants. (She told me I should be keeping my rosemary separate from the rest of my herbs because it likes it a bit drier.)
  • Salad greens can grow in the shade, especially the “cut and come again” varieties. This is handy if you live on a narrow street and don’t have much sunlight.
  • The District proper is a plant hardiness zone warmer than the rest of the surrounding DMV area. This is handy to know when you’re trying to figure out when and what to plant.

Overwhelmed? Love & Carrots can help. Meredith’s service offers everything from consulting (a one-time service where she helps you think it all through) to coaching (you set up regular appointments where they teach you everything you need to know, complete with syllabus and notes emailed to you after), or full plant-and-care service done by her staff.

After confessing the way growing a garden makes me feel like I’m sticking it to big agriculture (Monsanto, I’m looking right at you), Meredith agreed. “I feel like I’m bringing back a part of culture,” she said about Love & Carrots. “All our grandparents had gardens, it just makes sense.”

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