Are You Ready for Earth Day? Get Started with Your Own Backyard Garden

An active businessman and philanthropist, Aaron Ollivier has more than 15 years of experience in marketing and management. To help other entrepreneurs, Aaron Ollivier founded the start-up incubator UA2, which lent financial and operational support to EcoScraps.

Since 2010, EcoScraps has produced organic compost out of food waste, and as of Earth Day 2013, it succeeded in diverting more than 30 million pounds of food from landfills. Growing your own produce is an excellent way to ensure that even less food goes to waste, but of course, a garden doesn’t grow overnight. With Earth Day quickly approaching on April 22, 2015, now is the perfect time to get started on your small garden in time for a springtime harvest.

Gardening Efficiently
Gardening in small spaces is a challenge, but raised bed gardening or vertical gardening is a convenient way to get the most out of your real estate. Ideally, the plot will be in a location where there are at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight, though plenty of leafy plants such as lettuce fare fine in the shade.

Choosing Plants
Keep the weather in mind when choosing seeds. Generally, hardy or semi-hardy plants such as kale, broccoli, carrots, or lettuce can tolerate frost well. More tender plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash are more suited to warm weather. For a complete list of seasonal vegetables, visit http://www.cuesa.org/eat-seasonally/.

Keeping Plants Healthy
One of the most common mistakes that novice gardeners make is failing to rotate their crops. Even the best compost will lose its nutrients if the same plants are grown year-round, and in the special case of organic compost, it is important to rotate the soil in order to keep it rich in beneficial bacteria.

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