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Posted by on Apr 30, 2015 | 0 comments

A Garden Consult with Love & Carrots

A Garden Consult with Love & Carrots

I’d love to be able to claim that I know exactly what I’m doing when I garden, but truth be told, it’s been mostly luck if I get something to grow. We’ve tried various vegetables over the past several years — some worked well like last year’s broccoli, but others like the lettuce I planted two seasons ago withered away after a week or so in the dirt.

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Determined to improve my gardening skills, I met up with Meredith from Love & Carrots, an organic gardening business whose goal is to “take the intimidation out of home gardening.” They provide a range of services from a personal consultation to design work to full-service garden maintenance. (Psst — We’re doing this post with Love & Carrots as part of a giveaway which we’ll announce tomorrow!)

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Meredith came over on a weeknight for my consult. After I told her about my past gardening successes and failures, the first thing she did was take an accurate sunlight reading using a solar pathfinder. It was 6:30 p.m. and a storm was approaching, but she was still able to determine that my small backyard space (2 beds approximately 3’x5′ each) gets about six hours of direct sunlight. Eight is ideal for full-sun plants, but she said six would suffice for a lot of the things I wanted to grow.

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Next we talked about space. In a small garden like mine, Meredith recommended vegetables that can be continually harvested, that are low-light tolerant and that don’t need as much energy. Swiss chard would do well, but large heirloom tomatoes would not. She also recommended going vertical — cherry tomatoes, malabar spinach and string beans can all be grown on a trellis.

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For soil, Meredith recommended about 20 inches of depth for proper drainage and root growth. I have several good inches in my beds, but she still recommended raising the beds several more inches and installing a cedar frame.

I quickly jotted down notes as we talked about crop rotation, soil testing, mulching and pruning. Meredith took a sample of the soil for external testing, scooping dirt from three different spots in the garden, each about 3-4 inches below the surface.

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Meredith brought handouts for me to keep which included a comprehensive list of plants and crop guide, garden maintenance recommendations and contact information for local nurseries.

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After the hour-long consult, Meredith reaffirmed some things I already knew, shared a lot of new information, and left me with a wealth of ideas for things I had never even considered such as attaching a drip irrigation system to my existing water barrel. I’m looking forward to getting back into the garden this year!

And for more about Love & Carrots, check back tomorrow to find out how you can win a FREE one-hour garden consult with Meredith!

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