Being concerned about what your family eats and how that food is produced should be important to all of us. Maybe you have been dreaming of a home garden this year. I have grown gardens in the past and found one thing to be true: I love gardens in the spring when the earth gives up seedlings grown in perfect lines and the rain comes down softly. And then summer comes. Heat, bugs, disease and giant water bills can make your garden dreams become garden nightmares.
Dreaming by the fire in the winter about being able to walk out the back door and harvest dinner is a great idea that sometimes doesn’t work out as planned. Hoeing weeds from around the plants when the sun beats down and the bugs dive bomb your eyes is not what you had in mind when you decided to provide fresh produce for your family’s table. And how many ways can you fix radishes, squash and cucumbers?
Raised gardens are easier to take care of. They are smaller so you don’t have to pay your neighbors to take some of the vegetables off your hands. It is also more convenient to weed and water them. Container gardening and raised gardens are becoming more popular all the time. You can plant seeds in pots and grow lettuce with your geraniums on the front porch.
I grow lettuce in a galvanized trash can on the patio and have enough to harvest for a salad now and them. Use kitchen shears to cut the lettuce leaves and leave the roots in the ground. The leaves will grow back for later use. And I always grow herbs in pots beside the house. Fresh herbs enhance any recipe.
Tomatoes and peppers are so delicious when homegrown. My family loves my fresh salsa. You can grow either of them in plastic or Styrofoam containers in the back yard. Lately a friend told me you could carve out a bale of hay and fill it with soil then plant your tomatoes in the “hay pot.” My farming uncle always said to plant tomatoes on top of a bale of hay and then water them through a pole driven down into the ground. The water soaks up into the roots, the hay decomposes, and produces nitrogen to feed the plant continuously.
However you decide to garden, homegrown is always best. But when the sun beats down, the squash bugs won’t die when sprayed with Ivory Soap Flakes, and the weeds take over, visit your local farmers market. It is the next best thing to a home garden.