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Karen Hall, immediate past president of the Lynchburg Association of Realtors.

At the beginning of the year, millions of households already had their own gardens started but — it should come as no surprise — those numbers are on the rise.

With everything going on in the world, the idea of not having to leave the comfort of your home for sustenance is quite appealing. Not only is gardening a great way to source your own food, it also is an excellent way to pass the time — if you feel like you have a bit extra on your hands at the moment.

If you have never gardened before, doing a little research ahead of time can make all the difference in how well your garden succeeds. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

• Start inside: While temperatures are on the rise, evenings still may be chilly.

Starting your vegetable growth indoors will protect them from any potential freezing. Growing your seedlings indoors also gives them the opportunity to get a little stronger before facing the harsh conditions outside.

• Choose the best location: Before preparing your garden, you will want to find out what spot in your yard is best for your beds. You likely will want a spot where there is direct sun for at least eight hours per day, as this is the norm for many vegetables. Your best location may be closer to your home, along a patio or deck.

• Install raised beds: Once you’ve found the best location and your seedlings are growing, you will want to prepare your garden for transfer. Using raised beds allows for a deep soil stack for further root growth and can making planting easier. It even can prevent unwanted critters from stealing your vegetables!

• Add pollinating attractions and bug repellent: Bugs aren’t always bad. Having those around who will pollinate your flowering vegetables can be extremely beneficial, so it always is helpful to plant flowers that attract pollinators. At the same time, planting herbs, such as mint and lavender will repel bad bugs and even rabbits and other animals.

• Consider an irrigation system: Properly watering is a key part of having a plentiful garden. While you may be home now for those morning and evening waterings, it might be a little hard to keep up with once you are back at the office. Investing in a drip irrigation system can save you time and money, as it slowly soaks your plants without over-watering them.

Karen W. Hall is the immediate past president of the Lynchburg Association of Realtors®, a John Stewart Walker, Inc. realtor®, licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Contact her at karen@karenwhall.com.

Karen W. Hall is the immediate past president of the Lynchburg Association of Realtors®, a John Stewart Walker, Inc. realtor®, licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Contact her at karen@karenwhall.com.

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