As I am writing this, I am munching on a fresh salad with cherry tomatoes, crisp lettuce, spinach and cucumbers, all from my own garden! I have never eaten such flavorful vegetables. Let me tell you, it was well worth the couple of weeks spent drooling over the pots while my garden was growing.
Eating seasonal, healthy and organic food has become more popular. People now realize that we are what we eat and, though it took us a while, that fresh food is good for us. However, organic and fresh foods can get pricey, and the cost may deter buyers from paying extra for the healthier option. To get more for their money, more people also grow their own gardens, and contrary to what people may think, it is fast, easy and affordable.
What You’ll Need
In order to grow your own easy and edible garden, start with a large pot (depending on how many vegetables you want to grow) and an outdoor area with plenty of sunshine and fertile, well-drained soil. I would also recommend having your own compost – organic material used to create soil – as fertilizer.
Start now: You can learn how to make your own compost at www.composting101.com. A bag of soil can be purchased for as little as $4 at Home Depot, and planter prices vary depending on the size and material you choose.
What to Grow
The most popular vegetables to grow are cherry tomatoes (these mature in about four months), small lettuce (two to three months), cucumbers (two to three months) and radishes (30 days). For the best results, it is a good idea to eat accordingly with the seasons and alternate the plants you grow. For example, plant lettuce in the spring and squash in the fall. Always add more compost when starting new plants.
Remember, have patience when you begin to grow your own garden, as nothing springs up overnight. A short wait will go a long way and produce an abundance of delicious home-grown veggies. While you wait, interplant flowers to repel pests and plant some herbs in a separate pot for some go-to seasonings.
Herbs that grow well together include rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil and oregano. These herbs need about six hours of sunlight per day and plenty of water. Depending on the herb, it will take anywhere from three weeks to two months for them to grow. The herbs are ready to eat and can be cut as soon as the leaves blossom, producing plentiful seasonings and garnishes year-round.
You don’t always need to start with seeds, though. Most stores offer small potted herbs to plant in your garden, so you can have a fresh supply without having to wait.
An organic edible garden – either outside in your yard or in a pot on your terrace – is cheap to maintain and effortless for even on-the-go professionals or busy students. Most importantly, it is your garden and you can experiment with different seeds and plant only the veggies you love! Get started…good luck and, in the wise words of Food Network’s Alton Brown, good eating!
By Elise Chazyn
For more information on growing your own garden, visit www.gardenguides.com
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