Growing food has always been a good idea, but these days it is becoming more important and more of a focus. Global population is surging while environmental conditions change and resources become less reliable. Food security and access to clean water are issues that reach us all. Whether for individual benefits or a sense of global community it is time to decentralize food production and return to a time when we actually had a relationship to the food we eat. In hopes of both inspiring and helping here are some basic points and tips to get growing.
Growing Fruits and Veggies Saves Money:
Most fruits and vegetables are easy to grow and also less expensive. Once the initial investment into soil, garden supplies, and seeds or seedlings is made your investment is really just some time and water. (maybe a little plant nutrition.)
Tomatoes, Zucchini, Squash, Leaf Lettuce, Green Beans, Peas Herbs, and Berries are particularly great crops to choose when comparing in store costs to growing your own. They are hearty and simple to grow, offer large yields and are easy to harvest.
When we grow food at home we are more aware of it, and also more financially able to access it. As a result we eat more fruits and vegetable. It is that simple. In addition, we know and control what (if any) fertilizers are used in the garden, therefore what our foods are exposed to.
Finally, when foods are growing in our home garden we harvest when ripe and eat immediately. Foods are at their highest nutritional value when ripe, and begin losing their value within 12-24 hours of harvest. Eating foods at their freshest offers us the greatest nutritional benefits.
As mentioned above, produce that are purchase in grocery stores are generally picked before ripe in order to make it to market while edible. In addition to nutritional benefits, most foods taste best when allowed to ripen to maturity before harvest and eaten as soon as possible after harvest. Picking young and eating later means we are missing out on the robust flavors our foods could be offering.
Most gardeners would agree there is an emotional attachment that comes with growing food that somehow makes it taste better too.
As we become increasingly aware of the importance of environmental practices and reducing our own impact food growing is a great place to focus attention. Home growing allows dramatically reduced carbon emissions. The average produce travels 1500 + miles 2414 km before being consumed (So basically my apples have seen more of the world than I have :( ). Reduced waste from food packaging, and in most cases, avoidance or dramatic decrease in pesticides and fertilizer use.
Plants and trees rely on carbon dioxide to grow and produce oxygen as a bi-product. The more we cover our space with green leafy plants, the more we assist in the earths natural processes of air purification. Why not make it edible!?
When we grow at home we harvest when hungry (meaning we take what we need and come back for the rest later), we tend to share with neighbors too. This means there is significantly less food waste; reducing the methane produced by rotting foods in landfill and meaning the resources that went into growing the plant were not wasted! YES!!
Speaking of resources, in home gardens we can use creative adaptations and methods to manage evaporation we can be more efficient and conscientious about when and how we water, including the use of rain barrels and grey water. We can use our resources carefully and make it work.
Start small - choose one crop, maybe even just use a pot on your porch or nestled into your garden until you get confident
Start with things you really like to eat - you will be more invested and excited to watch something grow when you actually WANT to eat it.
Choose a sunny spot - plants must have at least 6 hours direct sunlight. If you can not find a good sunny spot invest in a small grow light and try a small indoor garden.
Clean soil or growing medium - be sure you start with a good base. Nice fresh clean soil (or growing medium) and an area free of contaminants.
Consider a raised bed or vertical garden - These options allow a great amount of control over your soil, and nutrition, by using lots of mulch you can maintain good conditions with less watering and less weeds!
Of COURSE soil-less gardens are a wonderful way to grow your own food year round and we would LOVE to assist you in doing just that - but more importantly find what suits you and get growing!