Many people are getting into gardening these days, partly because it is a great outdoor and family activity, and partly because it is convenient to have fresh produce in the backyard. Nearly anyone can grow a few veggies whether they have a garden space available or not. It only takes a small area to create a garden plot; just 10′ x 12′ would supply the needs of a small family. Even those people who rent an apartment or live in a condo can try container gardening to grow a few salad vegetables.
With today’s rising food costs, it makes sense to purchase a few packets of seeds and a few potted plants to get a garden started. It is not necessary to have a lot of garden equipment to be successful at growing a small garden. Just a hoe, grub rake, a small spade and a water hose are enough once the garden space is prepared.
If you are starting from scratch by digging up a small area of the lawn, there will be some energy and muscle required. The sod should be completely removed, deep enough to make sure all the grass roots are gone. These roots regenerate quickly even if they are covered by dirt, so make sure there are none left. Then add enough garden soil and peat moss to refill the hole, using about four times as much garden soil as peat moss. If composted manure is available, use some of that for fertilizer. You can also use commercial fertilizer if no compost is available.
It is exciting to finally plant your garden, but it is important to plan before you plant. Make sure you purchase seeds and plants that will grow well in your climate, and carefully follow the directions on the seed packets and potted plants. Tomatoes are a healthy fruit (although most people think of them as a vegetable), and they grow in nearly any climate. Most do not need a long growing season, they can easily be grown in a container and they yield a lot of produce. Tomatoes are tasty in salads, sandwiches or just sliced with a sprinkle of salt.
Do not forget the other salad veggies that are easy to grow. They include several types of lettuce, carrots, radish and onions. Beets are also easy to grow and you can add the small leaves to a salad, cook the root as a vegetable or pickle them for later use. All of these vegetables can also be grown in containers, so even if you do not have garden space you can still grow the ingredients for a great salad.
Green and yellow beans are very easy to grow, either in a garden or in a container as a pole bean. They are healthy as well as tasty, and any excess you have can easily be frozen or canned.
Unless you are someone who is away from home most of the time, growing your own vegetables during the warm months makes a lot of sense, is fun and also economical.
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