The Daily Green's senior editor Dan Shapley asked Roger Doiron, a 2009 Heart of Green Award winner, and founder of Kitchen Gardeners International (newly redesigned - check it out!) 13 questions about gardening for beginners and gardening for politicians. Doiron and Kitchen Gardeners International were a big part of the movement that convinced Michelle Obama to plant that organic garden at the White House. It was Kitchen Gardeners International that launched the Facebook petition drive you probably remember joining. So he knows a thing or two about not only gardening, but also politics and inspiration.
Here's what he had to say:
Take us through the stages of planning a first-time garden in the pre-season. It's mid March - if you have never before grown a garden, or grown a garden successfully, what should you be doing right now?
There are many different hardiness zones and micro-climates across the country so it's hard to generalize about what a gardener should be doing each month, but, for gardeners in northern climates like mine in Maine, March is time for starting cold weather crops like radishes, peas, and salad greens outside and warm weather crops like tomatoes indoors. For more ambitious and patient gardeners, March is a good time for planting asparagus crowns (roots) which are the ultimate vegetable crop when it comes to delayed gratification, requiring 2-3 years before generating any significant harvest.
April is also a month for planting all the cool weather crops mentioned above as well as many others like early (new) potatoes, early carrots and onions. I also "go wild" in April by making salads using wild dandelion greens from our yard when they're at their tender best. I'm not sure what my neighbors think about a grown man crawling on all fours across his yard with a paring knife in one hand and a colander in the other, but ...
In May, everything seems to become possible for northern gardeners as the air and soil temperatures begin to heat up. Warmer weather crops like beans and summer squash can be sown from seed and the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants that you might have sown indoors can be moved outside.
Check back in early April to see the answers to more gardening questions, for beginners and politicians, answered by Roger Doiron.
What are the biggest successes of the White House garden Michelle Obama planted?
Have there any disappointments in the White House garden project?
What's next after the White House? The Vatican? Goldman Sachs?
Is the kitchen garden trend taking hold?
What about the grow-your-own food movement do you find most exciting?
What's Kitchen Gardener International's next big project?
What one Earth Day tip would you want everyone to do?
Photo of Roger Doiron at the 2009 Heart of Green Awards: Doug Goodman
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