Natural spring gardening

Amber Dendy's career focuses one thing: gardening.

"Unfortunately we live in an area where our soil is not good," says Dendy, Manager and Greenhouse Grower at Inlet Culinary Garden in Litchfield Beach.

But trial and error has shown Dendy and her boss, Inlet Culinary Garden Co-Owner Chris Reynolds, that gardening near the beach is hard sometimes. To combat a soil type that doesn't hold moisture well, gardeners mix in other types of soil. They also plant their produce in raised beds.

"Actually bring in organic soil, peat moss, compost, humus you name it, so right then and there know they have the perfect growing situation," she says. "Tomatoes, they love to be planted with marigolds for some reason."

Composting is another natural way to amend your soil. Inlet Culinary Garden suggests making your own compost from lawn clippings, scraps such as raw vegetables, and even coffee grinds.

"You want to wet it and turn it every few days and basically after about three weeks you'll have a really nice matter that you can mix in your garden or your beds at any time during the season," says Dendy.

Another problem people encounter while gardening is bugs, but not all bugs are bad.

"Lady bugs, that's the real popular one everybody knows," says Reynolds.

Reynolds says certain herbs such as parsley or last year's fennel can attract the beneficial bugs. He says if you plant these herbs in your fall garden, by the time spring rolls around, they'll be in full bloom. When it's time to plant your vegetables, these bugs will already be there.

"Those adults will feed on the nectar on the flowers that are already blooming and that way you have the adults coming in to basically protect your garden from some of those nasty insects," Reynolds says.

You can get rid of these insects without using harmful chemicals.

"Hopefully the idea is that that you can pretty much go pesticide free," says Reynolds.

When in comes to watering, Dendy suggests making sure you don't simply lightly water the top of your garden. Deep, frequent watering is the key to having a successful spring garden.

"People now are more educated, they're starting to realize that there are more things they can do naturally that not only can help protect them, but help protect the environment as well," Dendy says.