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Chia-Ming Ro is a garden consultant and creator driven to help clients foster an appreciation for growing their own food and increasing their families food security, with a focus on regenerative farming practices. What started as a childhood hobby has blossomed into a career and a movement. She’s transformed her own home into a developing urban homestead by trading concrete and lawn for raised beds housing edible and pollinator gardens. She’s also working with her city's environmental committee to legalize beekeeping to save the honeybee population and increase pollination for homegrown crops. She gives us a primer on gardening no matter where you are, how to get started, and how to grow effectively.
Chia-Ming started growing her own edible garden in her yard and loved talking with neighbors and friends about what she was learning
Herbs are a gateway plant to gardening, mint is a really easy starting point and hard to kill
Root veggies like radishes are quick to grow from seed and don't require a raised garden bed
Microgreens just require a little tray, seeds, and a bit of water and they'll grow!
Sun Seeker allows you to put in your address and see what areas will get sun throughout the year, helping you know what to plant where
Search for local seed sellers since those seeds are cultivated to thrive in your home climate
Seedlings are a great place to start, it takes some of the work out of keeping them alive since they're already off to a good start
If you're going to eat the fruit or vegetable off of the plant, assume it needs 6-8 hours of sun per day
If you're eating the leaf (like on a lettuce or kale) it needs 4-6 hours of sun, assume more sun the larger the edible leaf
Vegetables like lettuces will continue to grow if you remove several leaves to consume, this helps you plant few things with higher density, and still reap the benefits!
Annuals are your leafy greens, they tend to be a Winter crop, they tend to seed in the Spring
Perennials are plants that stay in the ground through the seasons and produce for more than one season, like a fruit tree
When you're starting out, Google your growing zone to see which plants will do the best during each season
When it comes to pests in the garden, you can build a physical barrier to deter things like squirrels, but you can weigh what to do with bugs and whether or not to spray something organic. Chia-Ming choses to leave them alone
Chia-Ming uses Malibu Compost to create biodynamic soil while delivers more nutritious soil
Bees are critical to pollinate our plants so they can reproduce or you can use a bee brush to spread pollen on your plants
Chia-Ming started beekeeping but then found out that her city doesn't allow it, so she is working with her city to try and change the restrictions
For growing in small spaces, go vertical with things like trellises or posts
You can try hydroponics that don't require soil and can grow in towers, but research the nutrients that need to be added since there is no soil involved
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Be Well By Kelly is a production of Crate Media