Sunday, March 7, 2010

Growing your own food

I'm in my 2nd year as a vegetable gardener and I don't know why everyone else isn't doing it. Not only is it a wonderful way to reduce your impact on the world, but it's also easy, fun and cheaper than buying in the store.

I guess for me, the excuse was often that I didn't own my own house and so could not plant a garden. Last year my boyfriend solved that problem (another awesome Valentine's day present). I still don't own my own house, but we now do square foot gardening in raised 4X4 beds that can be put anywhere and moved as needed. And if you live in a townhouse or apartment, why not try container gardening? Most of my herbs are in containers and this Spring I'm trying some veggies too.

Another excuse that I used was that I didn't know what I was doing, but that excuse goes out the window with all the information available on the Internet. Some of my favorites are Gardening Patch, Gardener's Supply Company and Arzeena Hamir. Not to mention that local gardening stores, like my favorite Stone Brothers & Byrd, provide very useful gardening advice. Last year, they recommended VermaPlex for use on our plants and it worked wonderfully. I've also gone there to ask for basic planting advice and they have this awesome, what to plant when guide, which I've sworn by each planting season.

There really aren't any words to describe how it feels to grow your own garden. To know that your labor and your efforts are providing you with your own food. To bite into a piece of lettuce and know that you grew it in your own back yard. To eat freshly picked sugar snap peas or freshly grown broccoli, no chemicals or pesticides added.

It feels even better this year, because in the past my boyfriend helped plant all the crops, but this year he's away on a work trip, so it was totally up to me to plant a successful garden. I guess we'll have to wait to judge my success, but I do know it feels extremely satisfying to sit on the couch after a day in the garden and know that soon I will be able to eat home-grown veggies.

I even ventured past the typical lettuce, spinach, sugar snap peas, kale and swiss chard routine we did last Spring. In my adventurous mode, I added broccoli, cabbage, turnip and radishes. I've also been growing mint, stevia, spring onions (organic store-bought, that just decided to grow even after being refrigerated for 3 days!) and rosemary and hope to grow parsley, basil, cilantro and strawberry from seed. I even started some onions from seed (which sprouted today!) and recently purchased a mushroom growing kit to try my luck with that.

Don't think you have time for all of that? Start slow. Pick a few plants using a seasonal planting guide, prep the soil, plant the seeds and water. Don't have time to start from seed? Or don't trust you can grow something from seed? No problem! Buy the seedlings at a gardening store. Growing your our food is really much easier than you think!

So what are you waiting for? The last frost has passed and we are heading into Spring, so get to gardening and start enjoying the benefits of growing your own herbs and vegetables!

No comments:

Post a Comment