We all know fruit and vegetable consumption is key to a healthy diet. According to the USDA, diets rich in foods containing fiber, such as some vegetables and fruits, may reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes. Wouldn’t it be a dream to have these nutritional powerhouses available at all time right in your backyard? I have always been interested in home produce gardening because it not only has this potential to improve health, but it can lower the cost of produce you consume, reduce the environmental impact, and it can also provide fun and rewarding memories. With all this in mind, home gardening can be easy once you get started with the initial planning!
- There are endless produce gardening plans.
From mini greenhouses, raised bed gardening, to square foot gardening, there are so many different ways to plan your garden. It is important to do your research on what type of gardening would work best for you and the type of produce you are interested in growing. My current personal favorite is raised bed gardening because they keep weeds from your garden soil, prevent soil compaction, provide good drainage and serve as a barrier to pests [Source: eartheasy]. Not only that, it has a very clean-cut look that I am very drawn to.
2. Different seeds need to be planted at different times.
Once you have decided what type of produce you want to grow, you will have to figure out when to plant your seeds by the month. LC style shares a great diagram on their National Gardening Month post on the optimal time to plant certain seeds. Produce is seasonal, therefore it is important to know when to plant the seeds and the time for germination and maturation. January can be particularly a great time to start planning what produce you may want to grow. Tomatoes, onions, and herbs are just a few produce that can be planted in January.
3. Companion planting? What is that?
Companion planting is where plants actually grow their best alongside certain other plants as they make the most use of space and aid in pest control. For example, Karen from Lavender and Lovage shares a chart that shares lettuce grows well alongside radishes, carrots, parsnips, and beetroot. Companion planting can yield pest control, enhanced growth, and it is a great way to save space. This way, we can limit the use of pesticides on our home-grown food while also obtaining the most healthful harvest.
Photo Credit: [Boy Scouts of America]
4. Pest control
There is certainly some debate on the use of pesticides in our foods. I personally believe home gardening could be a great way to limit pesticides you ingest. You will have control on how exactly your produce is grown. Pests are however inevitable, but there are numerous safe ways to aid in pest control naturally. Weed ’em & Reap shares a natural recipe for pest control using homemade soap.
It is important to consider many other topics before you start you initial planning. These topics include composting, type of soil to use, and fertilizers. These topics will be covered in a near future blog post!