Garden Friday: Some basics for the future gardener

Today’s Garden Friday post comes from guest poster Alice Sweeny.
Alice Sweeney is a writer for an international consulting agency. She has been a professional writer for four years. When she’s not writing, you can find her getting dirt under her nails in her back yard, attempting to keep the rabbits away from the lettuces and cabbages, putting all the best advice from environmental experts to practice.

If you’re like me, the daily demands of life make it difficult to set aside time to get out
and enjoy nature on a consistent basis. One of the simplest and most rewarding ways to
make this time for yourself is by growing your own vegetables in a small garden.

With food prices at an all time high, growing your own food is not only a great way to get
outside, but can actually give a boost to your wallet. Growing vegetables does not have
to cost a fortune, if you go about it the right way. Seed packets can be bought almost
anywhere these days, including at your local supermarket, and generally cost less
than a dollar for over 100 seeds per packet. Obviously, you probably won’t need 100
tomato plants this year, (unless you really like to make a whole lot of tomato sauce)! But
heirloom varieties kept in a cool dry place will still sprout the following year. If you know
some other people looking to start or currently growing their own vegetables, you can
also get together with them and do some seed trading. This is a great way to help other
gardeners and sometimes discover a new plant variety you might not have worked with
before.

If you’d rather just get right to it, you can forgo starting plants from seed and buy mature
plants from your garden center or farmer’s market. After farmers have planted their own
crops, they bring the extras to market to sell at a very reasonable price, usually around
a dollar or so. The great thing about these plants is they’ve been growing in a climate
and soil similar to yours, so they have a better chance of being successful once you get
them home. Now you can get that fresh lettuce you’ve been paying $4 a bag for at the
farmer’s market from your own garden at a fraction of the price!

Now where-oh-where are you going to put that garden? You can grow your own
vegetables anywhere you have a good amount of sunshine – from your tiny patio to a
small window box, so don’t let space stop you. If you have some outdoor space, but
aren’t fully ready to commit, consider a non dig method of gardening, such as growing
on straw bales or in bags of inexpensive top soil. It saves a lot of digging, and your
back!

Environmental experts have long warned us of the effects of factory farming. Harmful
pesticides are polluting our waterways and our food supply. Fossil fuels used to carry
food all around the country continue to pollute our air. Growing some of your own
vegetables can be a great way to reduce your environmental impact. Most home
gardeners are able to produce a reasonable crop without having to use harsh pesticides
and herbicides.

So get outside, do your part for the environment, improve your personal and spiritual
health and get gardening!

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4 responses to “Garden Friday: Some basics for the future gardener

  1. Karmen July 22, 2011 at 7:24 am

    Oh so true! I would add to Alice’s reasons why growing your own is good, it is therapeutic. Somehow, and I’m not intentionally punning here, it connects us to our roots, to the dust from which we come and will return, it connects us to life — plants, birds, worms, and families.

  2. James July 22, 2011 at 10:10 am

    My neighbor Mike loves growing food and he and his wife are very good at it. In fact he grows much more than he can possibly can or consume. At harvest time he often visits with the neighbors (like me) and drops off a bunch of zucchini and other summer squash, tomatoes etc. We all love this and it adds big time to our sense of community. It must be a nice feeling for Mike to know he is putting quality food on the table of others.

  3. Winterbuzz July 22, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    We’ve been trying in a lot of ways to be more self-sustainable and so far gardening has been the easiest way. And for some reason, my garden, especially my tomatoes, were very healing for me during my miscarriages. I am so glad I’ve started to realize even the spiritual connections one can have by starting a garden.

  4. Alliegator July 24, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I agree with Karmen. I love getting my hands in the soil, especially in the cool morning when everything is quiet. I also love the jars of food on my shelf filled with foods from my garden. It feels good.

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