February Garden Education Episode on Soil
There are multiple components that must be considered when gardening. They are sunlight, water, and of course soil. The focus of the February garden education podcast is soil with our co-host and co-producer soil enthusiast and soil scientist Dr. Akilah Martin. We will be adding more content related to soil later in February and into the March episode as we will be preparing for the upcoming season. Look forward to a materials list and formulas for mixing your own potting soil for those using grow bags and other containers as well as information about raised beds and amending in-ground soils.
Also in March, we will be reviewing topics such as frost dates, seed start dates, etc. We are excited about the upcoming season in spite of the several inches of snow falling in Chicago as I write this. With this weather, it is a perfect time to go online or pull out your seed catalogs so that you can make your crop plan, order seeds, etc. The gardening sector is booming and supplies are limited so it is time to get a jump on the season by buying what you can now.
At the Chicago Partnership for Health Promotion and generally, our focus is on grow bag and container gardening, here is an article providing an excellent but basic overview of the topic. We recommend 5-gallon grow bags as the default size, however, grow bags come in a variety of sizes and 5-gallon buckets are an option as well. 5-gallon buckets must be food grade so if you are going to use them look for a source selling food grade buckets, this article is a good overview of 5-gallon bucket gardening.
Dr. Martin and I will be discussing soils in the next episodes of the garden education podcast but for container vegetable gardening you will need to use potting mix as your growing medium. If you think you want to mix your own we will provide a materials list and formulas for you DIYers.
For those of you that want to explore in-ground gardening, we want to make sure you do so safely so Dr. Martin suggests you check out this link regarding soil testing for nutrient and safety profiles. We discourage in-ground gardening unless you have your soil tested for contaminants and because soils are generally so poor in Chicago we recommend a nutrient analysis as well. In Chicago, Stat Analysis has a full-service lab for your soil testing needs.
Until the next episode check out these videos or search keywords such as container grow bag vegetable gardening, container vegetable gardening, etc.
Until the next episode get ready for a successful vegetable gardening season in Chicago!