Saturday, January 14, 2017

Why grow your own food?

Victory Garden poster from WWII
Saturday, January 14, 2016

I have fond memories of long summer days at my Granny’s. She had a BIG garden. My sister and I were always Granny’s little helpers. Of course, she was also a wonderful cook.  Having all her ingredients at the back door, made everything super fresh and nutritious. 

Every gardener has their own story on how or why they got started gardening:
-Growing your own was how your Mom and Dad did it.
-Wanting the freshest produce that gives your family the most nutrients.
-An intensively planted edible garden in the ornamental garden looks great.
-Little Joey or Angel is a picky eater; if the little one helps plant it and grow it, they will want to eat it.
-Knowing that what you feed your family has no chemicals in it and contains no genetically modified organisms (GMO’s).
-Enjoying the variety of what is in season.
-Keeping Grandma or Grandpa’s favorites alive from seeds that have been passed down for generations.
-Just love watching things grow and digging in the dirt (it is great exercise to boot).
-Ability to snip the freshest herbs to add to your latest culinary masterpiece.
The list goes on........

I migrated from flowers to herbs and most recently to veggies. I love fragrance and ran across a clearance herb book. It listed many herbs that could be grown indoors. I thought that would be a great idea to grow good smelling herbs to freshen the house over the winter. When spring came, I transplanted them outdoors.  They did great!  Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow.  Most are also perennials which means you plant once and they come back every year on their own.  Start a kitchen herb garden!

I toyed with adding veggies, but wasn’t sure how that would work out because our house was on a golf course! I decided to try it out, incorporating them into my flower bed. Our concerns evaporated when the golfers began complementing us on our “flowers.” It is amazing how much you can grow in very little space and how great it can look.

Nowadays, there is infinite variety in what you can grow in small spaces like the flower garden or on the patio.  There are so many new varieties that come out every year for small spaces.  These are referred to as patio, compact, or dwarf types.  Burpee’s seed packets display a terra cotta pot with a check mark in it for those that are good for growing in pots, which also work great in small spaces.  Veggies for small spaces  and Fruit for small spaces

Intersperse your vegetables and herbs with your flowers.  Not only does it look beautiful, but the flowers attract the pollinators that increase the amount your vegetables produce.  I plant my peppers with petunias in pots that we use on the patio and line the border of my vegetable garden with day lilies and marigolds.

You can grow healthy plants without chemicals, referred to as all natural or organic gardening practices.  Your plants need beneficial insects to pollinate your fruiting plants (like tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers).  Insecticides don’t know the difference between a good bug and a bad bug.  There are organically approved insecticides that can be used, but should only be sprayed cautiously.

Herbs are so easy to grow.  Many of our favorites (oregano, rosemary, thyme, savory, basil, chives) are from the Mediterranean region that has little rainfall and poor soil.  You actually get the most flavor from herbs that are kept on the dry side; it concentrates the oils in the leaves.  You can harvest from them nearly year round as they are also perennials.

I named my gardening blog after the gardens our grandparents and great grandparents started to help support the World War I and II efforts, called “Victory Gardens.”

Whatever is your reason for thinking about growing a garden, right now is a great time to plan what you are going to grow this spring!  How to know what to grow

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