Best Practices - Food Gardening



Back to Grow It Eat It

The Basics:

  1. Planning your garden.
  2. Location – Selecting the site.
  3. Preparing the site.
  4. Planting your crops.
  5. Garden maintenance.
  6. Container gardening-growing edibles on a smaller scale.


  1. Test your soil to determine soil pH, soil nutrients and the lead level.
  2. Add organic matter, such as compost, leaves, grass clippings, kitchen scraps, and cover crops, to garden soil yearly to feed soil organisms and provide slow-release nutrients for plant growth.
  3. Follow the 4 Rs when applying fertilizers- right type, right amount, right time, right location (HG 42 Soil Amendments and Fertilizers).
  4. Protect soil from erosion and nutrient run-off by covering garden soil with plants and mulch during the growing season, and with mulch, leaves, or cover crops during fall and winter.
  5. Start or improve a compost system (pile to compost garden and yard waste, or a worm bin to compost kitchen scraps) to recycle nutrients.

Integrated Pest Management (IPM):

   1. Scout (monitor) vegetable crops at least once each week for plant
         a. identify the cause of major problems.
         b. tolerate minor insect feeding and other plant injury.
   2. Get physical:
         a.  pick-off and dispose of insect pests by hand.
         b.  remove and dispose of dead, diseased, and infested plant
         c.  use fencing and row covers to exclude pests.
   3. Control weeds with mulches, hand-pulling, hoes and
       other cultivating tools.
   4. Add diversity and beauty in and around your garden with plants
       that provide pollen and nectar for pollinators and natural


Maintained by the IET Department of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. © 2017.