Friday, April 4, 2008

Start a Home Garden

What's growing in your garden? You can grow many different things in your own backyard with a little time, patience, and sweat equity (and a bit of money for start-up costs). A great way to save on money you spend at the market on produce is to grow the same items you would buy in your own garden patch. Vegetables and fruits that you grow in your own yard can also be protected from chemicals and dangerous pesticides used on commercial grown produce.

When you grow your own plants, you can decide where to plant, how much to grow, and you can control what goes "into" the growing of the fruit or vegetable - such as quality of fertilizer or composting materials. Having your own compost heap also has great benefits for reducing garbage in your can and for your health.

Seeds are cheaper than plants, but they take a greater amount of patience and time to grow to completion. Plants cost more, but sometimes don't do well after transplantation into a new location. The key is to decide what works for your own backyard setup, time availability, and interest, and go from there. You also need to consider whether you will plant in raised beds (which require some preparation, construction, and obtaining good quality soil), in pots, or directly in the ground.

Tomatoes are easy to start as seedlings in small containers inside your home before the last frost comes. Strawberries are a hearty plant that does well in ample sunshine and spreads quickly, and are a tasty addition to a raw milk fruit smoothie. Broccoli is a fantastic tasting vegetable you can grow in open sun as well, and is great to throw in to your daily egg mixture (like omelettes or quiche) for a healthy start in the morning. Chives are a nice addition to your garden because they also produce pretty white or purple flowers, as well as being a versatile vegetable you can add to soups, salads, and sandwiches.

For those interested in having fruit trees or bushes, there are a variety of different and appropriate types for each yard, soil type, and climate to accommodate everyone's taste. Trees require a fair amount of time, knowledge, effort, and care, but can provide an enormous amount of yield for family meals and canning/jarring, and cooking efforts.

For more information on gardening, visit Backyard Gardener.

To read articles on natural and sustainable living, visit Agriculture Society.

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