Have you noticed the big “Eat Local” movement? We are being encouraged to grow our own food or buy from local growers as much as possible. There are many reasons for this, first fresher food which often costs less because it doesn’t need to be shipped. Speaking of shipping, the farther our foods needs to be shipped the more expensive it is and all of those trucks on the roads are bad for the environment. So how do you grow a garden?
Here are some tips to get you started.
Preparing the Garden Site
If you’re starting your kitchen garden on a patch of lawn, you can build up from the ground with raised beds, or plant directly in the ground. Building raised beds is a good idea if your soil is poor or doesn’t drain. Now you add some good soil with peat moss and natural fertilizer to give your plants a good start.
Choosing Garden Crops
The most important recommendation after “start small” is “start with what you like to eat.” Plant lots of things that you know that you will eat and experiment with a few new things that you would like to try.
One of the easiest and most rewarding kitchen gardens is a simple salad garden. Lettuces and other greens don’t require much space or maintenance, and grow quickly.
Starting from Seeds or Transplants?
When the time comes to plant your kitchen garden, you’ll need to decide which plants to start from seed and which to buy as transplants. Many gardeners choose to plant all of their crops from seed for a variety of reasons, including lower costs and greater selection. But if you don’t have the patience to wait for the seeds to grow you can buy seedlings. Buying seedlings can increase your chances of success, especially with crops such as eggplants, peppers and tomatoes that require a long growing season.
When and How Much to Water Your Garden
Fruits and vegetables are made mostly of water, so you’ll need to make sure your plants are getting enough to drink. This is especially important for seedlings that haven’t developed a deep root structure. You’ll want to water them lightly every day or two. Once the crops are maturing, they need about an inch of water per week, and more in sandy soils or hot regions.
Growing your own garden will have you eating the freshest produce possible, it can save you money over grocery store produce and it is good for the environment. If you have any left-over vegetables that you can’t use consider donating them to the local food bank.
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