RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—The idea of starting a native flower or vegetable garden on Earth Day is appealing, but the process of digging up part of your yard, tilling up the sod, and letting things biologically settle down for days or weeks before planting can be a real green buzz kill. But have no fear! A one-day, instant-gratification garden is not only possible, but practical, explains gardening expert Lee Reich, PhD, author of Weedless Gardening (Workman Publishing Company, 2001).
Here's how Reich says you can start an organic garden today:
1. Find an area of your yard that gets at least eight to 10 hours of sunlight a day.
2. Mow the grass as low as your mower settings allow.
3. Cover the area you wish to garden (and the paths) with a cover at least four newspaper sheets thick; be sure to moisten the paper before you lay it down. That will allow the roots of your new plants to better work through the newspaper barrier and into the soil. Aim for three-foot-wide planting beds and 18-inch paths. You want a main path up the center, for sure. (Usually a 20-foot-by-20-foot garden is plenty big to start out with. In fact, it's best to start smaller.) The grass will start to die as soon as you cover it.