As March begins and Spring quickly approaches, we’re starting to plan the ACE Herb and Vegetable Garden. Planting a vegetable garden is a rewarding and healthy activity for families as well as businesses. Particularly if you are in the business of catering! As a part of our Green Initiative Program, our Executive Chef looks to her own herb garden for close-at-hand healthy supplies. Fresh herbs are grown on property and used in our daily menu preparations. We also design our menus with local, sustainable produce that whenever possible comes from our own vegetable garden.
If you’ve never had a vegetable or herb garden, this may be the year to give it a try! But before you can start planting seeds in the soil you’ll need to come up with a plan on how to make it all work! Below are just some key concepts to consider that will help you get the most out of your vegetable or herb garden.
Choosing the Location for the Garden is Crucial
It’s all about sunlight. No matter what, you have to plant your vegetable garden in the most sun-saturated spot you can find. In fact, some gardening experts suggest bright locations with at least eight to ten hours of sunlight. Here at ACE Conference Center we’ve chosen to plant our vegetable and herb garden in the inner courtyard for its consistent warmth and bright sunlight. Crushed stone has been scattered around the area to increase the light reflection and to draw additional heat.
Create Nutrient Rich Soil for Your Veggies
Many people decide to sow their seeds right into the ground; however, we prefer to plant in raised beds for our ACE Herb and Vegetable Garden. A raised bed warms up faster, maintains the warmth longer and drains moisture quicker. But the soil itself needs generous amounts of organic humus added to ensure success. Compost, peat moss and aged manure are allexamples of ideal forms of humus that can easily be churned into the existing soil. The resulting mix is nutrient packed and guaranteed to grow delicious veggies! If you don’t have space for a full-on vegetable garden, consider using containers and pots filled with the same rich soil mixture. It’s remarkably easy to grow strawberries, lettuces and tomatoes in large terracotta pots that can be moved to sunny locations as the months change.
Deciding on What Vegetables and Herbs to Grow in Your Garden
Before planting any seeds it’s best to decide what type of vegetables you want to grow. Selecting the vegetables you reallyand truly intend to enjoy will help realistically determine space and companion plantings in the garden. This year we’ll be planting a wide variety of herbs, including: sage, basil, thyme, oregano, parsley and tarragon; as well as tomatoes, peppers and squash. Vegetables susceptible to little critters like rabbits and chipmunks are not successful at ACE due to our open landscape and surroundings so carrots, beets and onions may be too risky.
As any gardener knows, maintaining a healthy vegetable garden is hard work but incredibly rewarding. We’ll be sharing our successes and challenges as the warmer seasons progress, so please check back often to see how our garden is growing.