It’s finally April and my hyacinths, tulips and irises are beginning to bloom which means warmer weather is on its way. My favorite part of spring is seeing all the flowers in bloom, which is why I have 11 different flower beds in my yard. I have a wide variety of flowers and shrubs such as roses, lilies, hostas, and hydrangeas. I love looking out the window and seeing all the different flowers. However, flowers aren’t the only thing grown at my house. In the backyard we always have a sizable vegetable garden. The last frost date for our area is quickly approaching, meaning it’s time to start prepping the yard for our garden.
Now, growing a garden is not as difficult as it seems. Trust me on that. I don’t have a green thumb at all but we had a great turnout last year. Not only is it fun and relaxing to put in and tend a garden, but it is also a great way to save a little money by growing fresh fruits and veggies you would typically buy at the grocery store. Home-grown tastes better, too! Typically we can or freeze what we grow so it can be used all year round—which means, in part, some fresher-tasting veggies and such in the winter, when they are mostly out of season everywhere else.
The first step is figuring out where the garden will be and if the soil in that area is conducive to growing. Plants need nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous to grow healthy and strong. They can be derived from the soil or added later if your soil is not rich in these nutrients already. It’s also important to make sure there is enough sunlight and water available. For everything you need to know about getting into gardening check out this beginners guide to gardening. Also, the Farmer’s Almanac is a great resource when you’ve decided on what and when to plant your garden. Another great resource for all your gardening needs is the website Gardening Know How. They have information on not only gardening but also lawn care, composting and caring for houseplants.
If you want to garden but don’t have enough room in your yard I have a solution for you! Many plants can be grown indoors. Planet Natural Research Center is a great resource for starting your indoor garden. Pinterest is also a great resource for fun and cute indoor planters. (Hmmm, this sounds like a great future blog post!) Another option is a community garden. The Metro Parks offer garden plots for $20 a year at the Possum Creek and Wegerzyn Gardens.
Freeze or can your crop so you don’t have to use it all at once. Last year, we had a lot of tomatoes so I made and canned tomato sauce and was able to use it all winter. Canning is really an easy process. You can either use the water bath method or the pressure canning method, and mason jars are relatively inexpensive at your local grocery store. Both canning methods and directions can be found here.
Growing your own food can be a lot of fun. I’d love to see pictures of your garden or hear any gardening tips you may have. Send them to Val@rivervalleycu.org.