If you're a Facebook user you've probably noticed numerous people posting about starting their own garden this spring. As we try to make fewer trips to the grocery store and shelves seem to have less and less of what you want, a garden is a sure way to get your favorites. Plus nothing is fresher than straight from the plant. Our friends at Cornell Cooperative Extension offer 10 tips on getting your garden off to a good start.

The National Garden Bureau began writing manuals for growing your own vegetables in 1943. At the time fresh food was scarce as World War II raged, so they named them Victory Gardens. Here are the top 10 things to get

1. Know your growing Zone to learn what plants survive best in CNY's ever-changing weather and temperatures.

2. This may seem obvious, but make sure your growing things your family likes.

3. Plants can be started from seeds or purchased seedlings to transplant.

4. How much space do you have? Some plants can be grown in containers or raised beds if space is limited.

5. What kind of soil do you have? And will it need nutrients? Fortunately Cornell Cooperative Extension offers soil testing for just $2. Here's how take a sample.

6. Know the best time to plant seeds or transplant seedlings in CNY. CCE offers a complete list of not only the best time, but the best variety of each vegetable.

7. It may be easier to purchase plants already started from local garden centers rather beginning from seeds.

8. Think about composting your garden with items from your dinner table; vegetable, fruit, peelings, eggshells, coffee and tea grinds.

9. You'll need to bring in pollinators like bees to help your garden grow. Cornell suggests planting flowers near the garden like; marigolds, zinnias, parsley, dill and rosemary.

10. And last but far from least important, rely on other gardeners you know for tips and tricks.

One of greatest sources of knowledge is Cornell Cooperative Extension in Oneida County. You'll find a wealth of knowledge and fact sheets in the gardening section on their website. Like many of us the CCE staff are working remotely but, phones are monitored and calls returned weekdays from 8:30 to 4:30 at 315-736-3394 ext. 100.

A big thank you to Holly Wise, CCE Oneida County Consumer Horticulture Resource Educator for providing information for this article.

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