Plant a garden. You think I am kidding right. BUT if everyone on the planet who does not have a vegetable garden planted one, the world would change. Most products that you buy in the grocery store in America travel 1,500 miles…That’s a lot of gasoline products. All the produce, herbs and flowers you grow soak up carbon dioxide, especially sweet corn. Plus if you compost your garden waste you put that carbon directly into the soil where it will not be released. Plant a tree while you are at it. If all 7 billion people in the world planted a tree our problems would temporarily be over. Young trees soak up an incredible amount of carbon as they grow. Not to mention the health and well being benefits from working out doors and being away from modern stress inducers. Or the health benefits of eating good nutritious food. If you have kids teach them how to do it (it is no longer innate) and you will have passed along a valuable skill. Invest in an efficient refrigerator and a small efficient freezer to store your valuable products. This saves bunches too. If you are really adventurous invest in a dehydrator and a solar cooker or make your own. You save even more. By the time you are done heck you wlll amaze yourself at how much you have done. Seem impossible? NOPE, it starts with the first seed you plant. So lets get agrowing.
Some of you are lucky to have year round growing conditions. As the world warms more of you will enjoy that perk. But where I live in Illinois it’s pretty much a 3 season affair. Today is March 6th and I plan on planting a row of peas and some lettuce and spinach. That will be dicey though and if we have an ice storm in April or early May it will be a wipe out. Such is life. If I get lucky I will be freezing sweet peas by the end of May. Here are some great sources for getting in the groove.
Planning Your First Vegetable Garden
March 5th, 2009 in Grow It, Live It
Ruth Dobsevage, editor
So you’ve decided to grow some veggies this year? Welcome to the club. Before you decide on what to grow or pick up a spade, you need to make some basic decisions about your garden’s location, size, and shape. Here are some things to consider.
Walk around your property as you try to decide on a location for your garden-to-be.
Vegetables do best in full sun. You will get decent results with less than that, but in general strive for a site that gets at least six hours a day during the summer. Remember that sun patterns change dramatically with the seasons; a site that looks good in April may be too shady when the leaves come out.
Another factor to consider is proximity to your kitchen. You are more likely to check out your garden frequently if it is close to the house. My garden is maybe 30 feet from the kitchen door. When I need some parsley or mint, or maybe a few more tomatoes for a salad, it’s not a big deal to go out and get them.
If you have a choice, a flat area is better than a hilly one. A gently sloped site can work well, especially one that faces south or west.
What about water? You will most likely want a source close by, be it an outside tap, a rain barrel, or even a stream or pond.
Don’t despair if your lot is is very small. Even if you don’t see a way to create a separate garden area, you can probably tuck a couple of vegetable plants in somewhere: near the house or by the garage, perhaps. Or on the deck in containers.
Size and shape
For a garden of moderate size, aim for 400 square feet (20×20) to 625 square feet (25×25). You’ll have enough space to grow several different crops, but not so much that you’ll be overwhelmed. If even that seems daunting, start small. You can always enlarge the space later.
Gardens are generally square or rectangular, but they don’t have to be. You may want a different configuration to take advantage of sun patterns, to work around boulders, or just for artistic reasons. The plants won’t care if they are arranged in straight lines or curves.
Personally I pick any 10 x 20 ft area that is unshaded and jump in. Begginners should start smaller. But if you are going to grow peppers, squash, corn or tomatoes you need a lot of space. Just think, the bigger your garden the less grass to mow.
The Beginner’s Guide to Organic Gardening
Gardening is not too complex. Almost all of us–probably in grade school–planted a seed in a cup of dirt, watered it, and watched it grow. But creating a garden that produces fresh food and flowers all season is not so elementary, especially to those who did not grow up gardening. So we’ve compiled this guide to the basics of organic gardening and the keys to success we’ve learned over the years. When you’re done reading, look at your thumb–you may see a tint of green that wasn’t there before.
No. 1 Plant Seeds
1. Make your bed. About three weeks before you are ready to plant, after the soil has dried so that it doesn’t clump when you pick up a fistful, sink a fork into the earth. Loosen it down to about 12 inches, add a half-inch layer of compost, and rake the surface of your garden until it has no weeds, dirt clumps, or big stones. Over the next three weeks, pull any weeds that come up. Raking and then letting the soil sit for a few weeks brings out weed seeds that were lurking in the soil.
For more information on garden beds, check out this article about raised beds and this video to see how to build a raised bed, or watch this video to see how to turn your lawn into a garden bed.
I am not going to copy all of this stuff. go and read it yourself. If you have never done it before this is essential reading:
Don’t read too long though, that’s what winter or nightfall is for. Get out doors! NOW