BENEFITS of a HOME GARDEN
"Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes." ~Author Unknown
I hope everyone remembered it was Daylight Saving Time before it was too late, and you didn’t miss anything important.
Spring is in the air, and just around the corner. It’s a good time to start planning your home gardens. Even apartment dwellers and those with very small yards can find creative ways to plant your seeds, and reap the harvest.
There are many benefits to having your own vegetable garden:
- You save on fuel by not having to run to the grocery store
- You save on cash by growing your own at home
- You can grow all your vegetables organically, and gmo-free
- You can share or trade crops with family, friends, and neighbors
- The vegetables are fresher than anywhere else, since you pick and consume
- You get plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise
- For many, gardening is therapeutic. People feel happier and calmer.
- It’s a great way to get children involved in good healthy habits without all the lectures. Kids get outdoors, good quality time with family, they love to plant, many won’t complain about pulling the weeds (especially if you give a cash incentive), and come harvest time, many are so excited to see what they planted come out of the earth, they will eat veggies they normally turn their nose up at.
- A garden enhances the landscape, nothing like a rich green garden.
- Gardens encourage the whole family to eat healthier, as the vegetables are colorful, flavorful, and it’s easier to eat healthy when there are so many fresh, wonderful choices around.
Be sure to start with the most suitable area in your yard. Next, do your homework on your soil, and find out what it may be lacking, as this is what will produce a hardy vegetable with a plethora of health boosting benefits. Remember, if it’s not in your soil, it won’t be in your vegetables, so take the time to enhance the soil.
Of course, I can’t mention growing a garden without throwing in the old parable about,
“What you sow, is what you reap.”
Indeed, all across the board in life, in every single area, one will always reap what they sow.
If one does not sow, they will not reap. This applies to life, as well, if one doesn’t fill out the application, rest assured, they won’t get the job.
Once your garden in planted, it doesn’t take long before the weeds come, too, hahaha! Sometimes it’s hard to tell a weed from a seedling when they are but little things, but it doesn’t take long for either to grow, and one can soon tell the difference. Pull the weeds at that point, and they easily shake loose from the dirt. Wait another week and they really start to take hold. Procrastinate too long, and they will choke out the garden.
Just as a garden, there will always be weeds to pull in life, in every single area. Sometimes, we think we’re moving in the right direction in life, only to discover we’re standing in a field of weeds. Just as the garden, one must take the time to evaluate what went wrong, and take proper action. Sometimes it’s an easy fix, other times it could take a few weeks, months, or years to clear the field. For some, an entire lifetime is spent looking at, and complaining about the weeds.
We reap what we sow. Sow folks. Sow with purpose.
Now, on to what is good to plant this time of year in most of the nation, not everywhere, but most.
Even if you plant just a couple vegetables, such as lettuce, radishes, or tomatoes, you can have a wonderful salad each day, fresh from your garden.
“There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.” ~Mirabel Osler
TIME TO PLANT: Thanks to ‘Urban Farmer’:
March is the perfect time to get those tomato and pepper seeds started indoors ready for an early spring planting! Also a great time to start planting those cool weather vegetables that can withstand those last frost days of March and April. A great time to try a Garden Shot!
Sow beets now for a fast, early summer treat. Suggested variety: Detroit Dark Red
If you live in a warmer climate and can find a quick growing Broccoli variety you can harvest until it bolts in the hot summer sun! Suggested variety: Calabrese
Cabbage is one of the easier plants to grow in the garden. Select a variety that is right for your location (size and maturity length). Be sure to fertilize and water when cabbage head begins to form. Suggested variety: Premium Late Flat Dutch, Golden Acre, Michihili
Planting carrots by mid-July yields a fall crop that will keep in the garden until used. Suggested variety: Little Finger, Scarlet Nantes
One of the most rewarding and fast growing crops to grow. Corn is delicious when cooked only minutes after being pulled off the stalk. Try a small plot of corn, working your way to a large field of several varieties. Suggested variety: Peaches and Cream, Incredible, Sugar Buns
Fast growing vine or bush cucumber plants can produce an abundance of cucumber fruits. Be careful to pick a variety for the space you have in your garden. Vine cucumbers can be the best tasting but need far more space than bush varieties.
Suggest variety: Spacemaster 80, Muncher, Marketmore 76
Plant heat loving herbs like basil, oregano, thyme and sage. Suggested varieties: Italian Basil, Greek Oregano, Dill
Start a crop of salad mix greens that gets bright sun but not all day. Great for late summer and early fall crops. Suggested Varieties: Buttercrunch, Mesclun Mix, Black Seeded Simpson
Melons are some of the most rewarding plants to grow. Great for hot, long summers. A staple for summer picnics and family fun. Suggested variety: Sugar Baby, Crimson Sweet, Hales Best
Get those onion seeds growing. Be careful to select an onion variety appropriate for your garden zone. Northern areas should plant long day onions. Southern regions should plant short day onions. Suggest variety: Sweet White Walla, Red Creol, Yellow Spanish
Green peas and sugar peas are good to plant in July, and will produce a moderate fall harvest. Suggested variety: Sugar Ann, Oregon Giant
Fresh, crisp peppers are a garden favorite. Peppers take up little space and can produce high yields when planted close together. Plant as many different varieties as possible. They come small, big, hot, mild, and an array of different colors. Suggested variety: California Wonder, Early Jalapeno, Sweet Banana, Super Chili
Spinach is more of a cool weather vegetable and will produce until hot weather of summer. Planting in early March will ensure you have plenty of harvest before bolting. Suggested variety: Bloomsdale, Samish
Yum! Summer squash sowing in June will lead to fresh squash and zucchini in July and August. Suggested Varieties: Cocozelle, Waltham Butternut
The most popular garden vegetable. Growing tomatoes is not only fun but treats you to some of the best tasting fruits in the world. Tomatoes come in many colors, shapes, taste, and sizes. Grow a few varieties every year to find your favorites! Suggested variety: Brandywine, Cherokee Purple, Roma, Sweetie, Heirloom Blend