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Growing Your Organic Vegetables in Alexandria – Yes You Can!

Here are some tips to start your own backyard/container organic garden.

By Laura Norfolk, ABC

Alexandria, VA – Growing up with a long history of family farmers, I’ve missed working in the dirt. I didn’t think vegetable gardening was possible here with such small spaces, but it is! Here are some tips to start your own backyard/container organic garden.

  • Start small and choose your favorite vegetables or herbs. Visit www.almanac.com/gardening/planting-calendar to see which vegetables will grow in this area and when to plant them. Consider companion planting to help plants thrive (www.almanac.com/companion-planting-guide-vegetables).
  • Choose a planter. For yards, a simple designated area or raised planter works great. For patios or balconies, a raised planter on legs and/or large container pots are needed. Get large enough pots to support root systems – at least 3 times the size of the plant with drainage holes.
  • Find a space that receives the most sunlight in the day. You can start your garden, raised bed, or container garden there. Containers can be moved around depending on sunlight.
  • Collect and take your compost to Alexandria City Compost drop-off sites. Be sure to come home with composted soil to plant your vegetables in. This is a free service in Alexandria!
  • Use organic soil and organic fertilizer for your planters. My favorites are AgroThrive fertilizer and Back to the Roots Organic Soil Mix (thanks to my aunt who owned a nursery for decades before retiring).
  • Order/buy your seeds and plant as directed. Many local nurseries sell seeds and/or Burpees.com is always a go-to.
  • Watch your garden grow! Monitor water daily and fertilize with organic fertilizer per instructions.

Soon you’ll be eating fresh from your garden and sharing your rewards with neighbors and friends.

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