The basic elements for growing a plant are the following: water, oxygen, soil and sun. If you have access to all four, then you are ready to start your own garden. Either in the front of your house, in the backyard, or even inside your house, as long as you have windows and raised garden beds on wheels, it will work! But why should you try to grow a plant, or moreover, your own vegetables?
Some reasons are more obvious than others. You can control what chemicals go into it; you can save some money by growing your own organic produce; , you are helping the planet, and you will taste the satisfaction of success in a vegetable you grow yourself. Other less apparent but perhaps more important reasons for trying to grow some vegetables yourself include therapeutic stress relief, knowledge and respect for nature, cultivating patience versus anger and overall contributing to a much better world for future generations.
Planning is a crucial part of growing food. Learning the weather patterns and how each affects specific varieties of seeds is a good place to start. There is a lot of “learning as you grow” when you first join the expanding group of “home food growers.” The resources are fantastic and most of them are accessible from your home computer. Here are few links that may help you get started:
- For types of garden to build and how to start: http://www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/plants/vegetables/gardening/
- USDA People’s Garden: http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentidonly=true&contentid=peoples_gardening_resources.html
- USDA Tips for Organic Gardening: http://blogs.usda.gov/2015/03/17/tips-for-starting-an-organic-garden/
One of the best parts of growing your own food is eating it! And if you find yourself with an abundance of a specific fruit or vegetable during picking season, don’t forget to freeze it or dry it to save it for the winter. Add your home grown produce to your daily menu in a variety of creative ways. The zucchini muffin recipe below is a perfect example of how to use up some of your summer harvest. These muffins freeze well so that you may bake them and have a lunchbox or snack item stash for when you need it. The secret to turning zucchini into a muffin is adding almond butter, of course! zucchini is mild tasting veggie, so when paired with Once Again Lightly Toasted Unsweetened and Salt Free Creamy Almond Butter, it absorbs its flavors and highlights its best qualities. Not to mention, they make a powerful nutrient combo— the zucchini offers vitamin C, A and fiber, while the almond butter brings on the protein, iron and omegas.
You may follow the same recipe below using summer squash, as well! If you just can’t wait for your produce to be ready for picking, this recipe is worth a try with some local market ingredients!