Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Grow Your Own Veggies

Planting seedlings!
May is here and in New England, it's vegetable garden time!  I have to admit, my husband and I have not had the best of luck with our gardens in years past but we always pretty much know where we went wrong.  This year, we will be building a 4'x4' raised bed  That may sound small but we will be using the square foot gardening method, which apparently yields a lot more produce per square foot than gardening in rows.  I'm very excited about this!

Sunday, I proudly told my mother (who is truly an expert veggie gardener) about all of the seedlings we've started indoors.  To my dismay, I've already made a gardening mistake!   When I told my mom about starting radishes and beets inside, she was quick to tell me that you typically do not start root vegetables inside.  Apparently there are veggies that you definitely want to start indoors (or buy seedlings for) such as tomatoes, ones that you have a choice to start indoors or out (lettuce, spinach, other leafy greens) and then there are ones that do poorly with transplanting, such as your root vegetables. Being a novice gardener, I am certainly not going to go into great detail about all of this, but I will provide some excellent resources. 

You can pretty much grow a garden anywhere, even if you don't have a yard.  If you have a patio or a door stoop or even a sunny window where you can hang a window-box, you can grow vegetables.  Not only is it fun and rewarding but it promotes a healthy lifestyle inexpensively!    

So, here are some great resources to get you started:

The UNH Cooperative Extension on Home and Community Food Gardening - has tips from beginning to end, including safety tips and info on gardening with children.

The Square Foot Gardening Foundation - has a lot of info on the square foot gardening method, plus an online store (with reasonable prices) that includes all of the materials needed to easily start a small raised bed.

The Old Farmer's Almanac - "Raised Bed Gardening is Cheap and Productive."  - Instructions on how to build your own raised bed garden cheaply and easily.  This whole web site is packed with veggie gardening info.  

HGTV Plant a Window-Box Farm - a step by step video on how to plant a window box vegetable garden.

Still not sold on starting your own garden or just don't have the time?  Read my post on affordable organic for some tips on utilizing what's in your community, such as farm stands, co-ops and crop-share associations.  There is nothing like fresh home-grown (or locally-grown) veggies!