From “dirt to delicious”!
Make gardening fun! Growing gardens is easy, fun and in most cases the sun and good soil will do most of the work for you! Like my friend Julie says, (who is one of my favourite local farming gals) “that’s a bit of a stretch!” When it comes to my personal gardening, it seems quite easy, because I have been growing gardens for years. For the beginner, it will end up being trial and error and I promise you lot’s of fun!
A small garden is far more manageable than a full-time farm,a place to grow, learn and appreciate what it takes to grow your own food. This is a place where you can pick the tomatoes off the vine and eat them within a few hours, a place where you can pick lettuce daily and Swiss chard for months.
I am an “eat local foodie” at heart. If you’re into eating local like me, your taste for local food can be pretty intense all year long. Just because we live in Ontario, for example, and our growing season will vary from year to year does not mean there is not enough time to grow a garden. There is.
Gardens generally thrive well on their own and what makes growing gardens easy is choosing the type of garden for the area you live, your space available and what you choose to plant. Today almost every grocery store and garden center will have a wide variety of small plants like peppers, tomatoes, onions, herbs, lettuce and so much more to get you started.
Stacey’s 10 Tips on How to Grow Gardens…easy
- Glitz up your garden!
Choose the container that suits you. I personally like garden art, planting in unusual spaces that make the yard look beautiful. An addition to your personal space that adds character and personality. A custom set of garden boxes, ladders, window boxes, old wooden crates and clay pots make nice additions to any back yard.
- Location, location, location!
When choosing where to put a garden, full sun works for most plants, however if you’re planting in containers it is best if they are in part sun/part shade to reduce the amount of watering’s.
- Early & long producing plants
Choose some plants that produce food early and all season long like, kale, Swiss chard, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, onions, celery, onions, beets and spinach. They are always the most hearty and will continue to grow until the frost takes them, usually late into October and often into November!
- Late summer plants
Peppers, eggplants, zucchini and large tomatoes require space, which will give you more yields per plant. These will require full sun and grow well together. Carrots and root vegetables are also a good choice, they are easy and are ready in the autumn.
- Large space autumn plants
Squashes, pumpkins, cucumbers, and melons require lots of space. If your yard is small, you can still grow these plants by having an object for them to climb, such as fence material, ladders and/or garden ornaments. Typically these are so widely available in the fall, it may be best to buy them from a local farmer, farm market and or your local grocery store.
- Easy weed control
Planting vegetables in raised garden beds controls weeds. The same would apply for planting plants in containers. If you’re strapped for time, (comma) I would definitely avoid tilling and planting directly into the soil. The weeds will eventually take over unless you want to be pulling them very weekend!
- Work with Mother Nature
Have high expectations and lots of excitement when growing a garden but also realistic expectations for what may grow. Too hot, too wet, too dry…weather will affect how your garden grows and sometimes you have to do that little extra, (comma) especially if the season is too dry. You will be surprised how a little water will help your garden grow.
- Gardens are for everyone!
Single, married, with or without kids, a garden is a beautiful way to celebrate local food. The taste of the food you will grow will be intense and simply delicious!
- Realistic expectations
Don’t expect to replace your weekly consumption of produce, however a garden today is a nice way to supplement your daily intake of the most nutritious food. Growing a garden helps all of us have a true appreciation for what it takes to grow your own food and a true appreciation for our local farmers who make eating local possible.
- Berries, berries and more berries!
Tender berries like raspberries, haskaps, blueberries, strawberries and blackberries are all easy to grow and often not on the top of anyone’s list of garden plants. However they are almost always maintenance free, and if you buy “ever bearing” bushes you will get fruit all season long. Click here to see some new, yet old, and exciting bushes I have recently planted that are packed with Vitamin C, fiber and are loaded with antioxidants.
Cost vs reward
Vegetable plants can cost as little as 50 cents a plant and produce food for you and your family from as early as April through to November. That is 7 months of eating local! When berry bushes are well established, there can be $5 to $10 worth of fresh locally grown berries being produced each until the season ends. When it comes to food costs today, every penny counts!
Growing, knowing and nurturing food from healthy soil, a small patch in your backyard is a place for you, and the kids if you have them. This allows them to get in touch with their inner foodie and really appreciate local famers and what it takes to get local food to your table year after year.
My garden produces from “dirt” and gives me “delicious” food for my family year after year. Yours will too!