Grow your own food.
If you have a yard or a porch / deck, why not use that space to plant a garden and grow food for you and your family. It doesn’t have to take up a lot of space and doesn’t require a huge amount of work, but can provide many benefits.
Here are some great reasons to grow your own food:
Growing your own food is great for your health, your economy, community and family and the environment.
- Homegrown food just tastes better. When you pick it right from the garden, it doesn’t get any fresher. Plus, you will be able to enjoy a wider variety of foods instead of just being limited to what the grocery store sells.
- It is healthier for you. You have control of what kinds of fertilizers and pesticides come in contact with your food. Also, the fresher the food, the higher the nutrient content.
- It is fun. Planting, growing, harvesting and preparing your home grown food can be fun and educational for the whole family and a great way to spend time together.
- Save money. The cost of food continues to rise and having your own garden can cut your grocery store bills while you still enjoy fresh, tasty food.
- It is a great way to get more fresh fruits and vegetables in to your diet.
- Also, kids are excited to eat the vegetables they helped grow.
10 Tips to Grow a Vegetable Garden
- Know what to plant. To find out what and when to plant in your region. You can also talk to neighbors who have a garden or visit a plant nursery nearby. Utah State University Extension Office is a great resource for this information. You can visit their website by clicking here or call the Summit County USU Extension office at 435-336-3217.
- Use a planting calendar. It’s a good idea to make a planting chart that takes into account the seasons and life cycles of the plants. Think about the weather and be prepared for possible problems, such as a dip in temperatures. Knowing when and how to water and fertilize your garden will make it more productive.
- Pick the best location. You can grow vegetables in your yard, a community garden, containers or planters in your porch, terrace or balcony, or even in window planters. The most important thing is not to plant your fruits and vegetables in locations that don’t get much sun. To get a good harvest, your crops need to be in a sunny and open location.
- Build a raised bed. Raised beds can be made by creating low mounds of soil or by building a large frame out of wood. They help you improve the quality of the soil, avoid compacting of the soil and promote better drainage. You should design your raised beds so that you can reach all your crops without having to stand inside the bed.
- Prepare the soil. Buy or make your own organic compost. Another option is manure mixed with compost. Chemical fertilizers should be your last option, since they can burn the crops and be harmful to your health.
- Buy seeds. If this is your first time planting, it’s best to plant your seeds ahead of time in seed trays and then transplant them. Buying a few plants may simplify things if this is your first time growing a garden or if it’s getting late in the season to plant certain varieties
- Use your space wisely by growing the same type of vegetable at different times. If you plant small numbers of the same fast-growing vegetable throughout the planting season, you’ll be able to harvest your crop at different times and it won’t compete for space and sun. This way you will enjoy your harvest throughout the growing season. If you plant all crops at once, they will all be ready at the same time.
- Rotate your crops to grow fruits and vegetables more than once a year and conserve nutrients and avoid diseases in the soil.
- Remember that certain plants don’t grow well together and some help each other. You can have the following plants in the same garden, but not next to each other. Avoid these combinations:
On the other hand, companion planting can help protect against pests and disease. Try planting some of these plants together:
- Beans, carrot, celery, corn, eggplant, peas, potato, broccoli, cauliflower, radish, beet, strawberry, cucumber
- Carrot, beet, garlic, scallion
- Cucumber, corn, beans, sunflower, radish, dill, nasturtium
- Lettuce, cabbage, Brussels Sprout, cauliflower, lettuce, radish, spinach, Swiss chard, turnip, beet, carrot, cucumber, onion, strawberry
- Squash, zucchini, cantaloupe, cucumber, corn, marigold, oregano, nasturtium
- Tomato, eggplant, okra, pepper, asparagus, beans, carrot, cucumber, onion, basil, marigold
- Get ready to work outdoors. Wear long pants, sunglasses and a hat. Use sunblock, especially between 10 am and 4 pm, and bug repellent if necessary. Protect your hands with gloves and your feet with socks and shoes. On hot days, try to garden early in the morning or late in the afternoon. Drink lots of water, but avoid alcohol and sugary drinks. Take breaks in shady areas. Children under 4, the elderly and those who are not in good health should not be exposed to high temperatures for extended periods of time.
If you don’t have a backyard or your deck isn’t suitable for container gardening, then join a community garden. Contact the Summit County Community Gardens to check on space availability and cost.