I started my very first garden 2 weeks ago and to say that I am excited about what’s to come is an understatement. This is something I have been dreaming of – I know a pretty lame dream, but it’s true. I have been out there every day sweet talking my little green children, feeding them the most nutritious foods, and tending to their every whim in hopes that they will grow and offer me a bounty of fresh goodies. There is nothing better than a freshly picked vegetable.
I made just a little garden, but I packed a lot in there. Organic and/or heirloom bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumbers, and lettuce are all nestled into a 6 x 6 plot of land while basil, parsley, dill and strawberries are scattered about the house in decorative pots. I even got us a palm tree to bring a little bit of the islands to KCMO.
The rise in popularity of locally grown offerings has got me giddy with delight. Buying local is one of the “greenest” things you can do, aside from adopting a animal-free diet. If you can not possibly imagine your life without a couple of slabs of bacon on a Sunday morning or a burger off the grill on a hot summer night, the least you can do is make sure it comes from your local farmer and that you supplement it with some local fresh fruits and vegetables.
Better yet, grow your own fruits and vegetables. Times are tough, gas prices are just plain stupid, a loaf of bread is barely affordable (again make your own, it’s super easy and costs pennies per loaf), and the job market is still shaky to say the least. So why not do the most economical – not to mention healthiest and earth-friendly – thing there is? It may cost you a little bit up front to get a garden started, but the end results will pay you back in full and put some greens in your pocketbook and fridge.
If you’ve got the space, all it takes is a shovel, a nice day, and a little hard work. Otherwise container gardens are all the rage right now. All you do is purchase the container (to be found at your local greenery), a giant bag or two of good quality organic soil, and either seeds or actual plants of your own desire. Zucchini, squash, and peppers I’ve heard are the most idiot proof (I hope I don’t have to eat my words later) and tomatoes do great so long there is plenty of sunlight, water, and a pole to climb. If you’re afraid to start an entire garden, start with a small container, or even start with a few potted plants to boost your green-thumb moral.
I wanted to have fresh herbs all year so I opted to put them in pots rather than outside, but you can do either or both.
Now I’m sure you’re wondering what I use to feed my rooted family. First off, I refuse to use any sort of commercial fertilizer, herbicide, insecticide, or anything other potentially harmful concoction. I don’t want it in my body or in the Earth. What I will use is fresh compost.
Being the my diet is centered around plants, I have plenty of plant food that I can give them. It takes a little time for it to do its thing (and a little training of the nose to withstand the slight sweet and rotting smell) but compost will feed your garden better than any store-bought bottled chemicals. I do supplement an eco-friendly fertilizer that my parents found at a “Green” expo in IA. So far I really like it. It doesn’t contain any harmful chemicals or man-made BS, and the kids seem to love it.
If you plant it, it will grow – just be sure to give it love from the sun, a good amount of liquid life (i.e. water), and possibly a few extra treats to coerce it into doing what you want.
Tell me about your green-thumb.