If you’ve ever dreamed of having your own garden, now is the perfect time to start! More and more people are seeking out organic fruits, vegetables, and other foods. They are trying to avoid high amounts of pesticides, chemicals, and toxins. People want to know what’s in their food, where it’s coming from, how it was grown and produced. What better to know all the answers than by having you own garden? Being able to walk outside every day to harvest the most nutritious and freshest fruits and vegetables you can possibly get your hands on.
Fall is a great time to start growing cool weather vegetables right into the ground. That means onions, leeks, lettuces, collards, spinach, kale, carrots, peas, beets, radishes, and turnips. They are easy to grow, save you money, and trips to the grocery store. Growing organic can seem a little overwhelming and sometimes can be a lot of work, but the benefits and rewards are well worth it.
You don’t need a huge plot of land or a farm to grow your own food. A small area in your yard with plenty of sunlight at least 8-10 hours is perfect for any home garden. Don’t have a yard; grow your favorite vegetables in containers on your front porch. Growing a pot of tomatoes, potatoes in burlap sack, and an array of fresh herbs will make a huge difference in your food, health, environment, and even your wallet.
Items You’ll Need to Start Your Garden
- Pencil and paper to diagram and plot your garden
- Raised beds or Containers (make sure to drill holes in the bottom)
- Compost and Organic Garden Soil
- Seeds or Organic Seedlings
- A hose or watering can for water
- Natural Fertilizers
- Garden tools, spade, hand rake, hoe, gloves
If you don’t have a lot of room, some vegetables grow well with each other and some refuse to grow side by side. Save room and frustration by learning to “companion gardening.” Here are a few that love to grow together and to keep in mind when plotting your personal garden.
Compatible Companion Plants
- Tomatoes grow well with basil, asparagus, celery, carrots, and parsley.
- Eggplants like beans, potatoes, and spinach.
- Carrots love pole beans, lettuce, onions, radishes, peas, and tomatoes.
- Cucumbers grow well with beans, celery, lettuce, peas, and radish.
- Onions love broccoli, strawberries, cabbage, and tomatoes.
- Melons like corn.
To avoid added toxins, chemicals, and fertilizers, learn to use some basic items straight from your home to add to your soil, repel pests, or boost a deficiency in your plants. Things that you throw in the trash on a daily basis can work wonders for your garden without contaminating your food source or harming your pets or family. And you can get the whole family involved with helping conserve used products and even get their hands dirty. (Kids are perfect for this!)
- Banana Peels- They are a mild fertilizer, so they won’t burn plants. They are a great source of Potassium and can be used for tomatoes. Use two peels per plant and place them one inch under the soil, about 6 inches from the stalk of the plant.
- Coffee Grounds- Also a mild fertilizer, high in nitrogen. They also help produce large yields.
- Epsom Salts- They are a fast acting source of magnesium and sulfur. Also a great fertilizer. Add a teaspoon into the ground before you plant your seedling.
- Seaweed- Used as a supplement, it helps keep plants green, stimulates root growth, and acts as a chelating agent.
- Beer- Kills snails and slugs. Fill an old pie container or plastic with beer and three drops of vinegar. Place near affected plants overnight, you’re guaranteed to find these slimy suckers in the container first thing in the morning.
- Egg Shells- Great source of calcium. They help produce large yields. Make sure to boil the shells to prevent Salmonella, then grind or crush them into a powder and sprinkle into the soil.
So whether you have lots of room for beautiful raised beds or just a sunny porch perfect for tomatoes and green beans. There’s nothing better than watching all your hard work pay off and know that what you’re growing is good for you and your family. There’s nothing better than walking out to your garden and plucking off a vine ripened tomato, still warm from the day’s sun. Slicing it open as its sweet juices pour out and then tossing it with some fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper for summer’s perfect dish! I’m drooling just thinking about it! Hope this spring inspires you to get out and start your own! Happy Gardening!!!