If you have never grown your own food, now is your chance!! Growing your own produce is a great way to add fruits, vegetables, and healing and flavorful herbs to your meals. It doesn’t take much, just a small container of herbs in your kitchen is a great start. Don’t worry, your garden doesn’t need to be perfect and you don’t need to be a master gardener to grow great tasting produce. The key is to just get started!
You can start from seeds indoors, or wait and buy already sprouted plants to put straight into the ground once the weather warms up. Indoors, you can start spinach, lettuce (and lettuce mixes), chard, and kale 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, onion, and potato seeds can be planted in the ground at the end of March (snow permitting). According to garden.org, the frost-free growing season starts around April 29th in the Shenandoah Valley. This will be the time to get your outdoor garden growing!
A few resources you can use to get started include:
Tower Garden is a great way to grow fresh food inside in the winter or on your porch in the spring and summer. The initial cost is easily recuperated by the short grow cycle and great tasting produce you get from using this system.
Herb and veggie companion planting is a great way to improve soil, eliminate bugs, and add flavor to vegetables and herbs. This is a guide from Mother Earth News that lists plants that grow best together.
Square Foot Gardening is a great way to maximize small spaces to get the most yield. I used this method once and the garden would have done excellent except for the fact that I placed the raised bed under 3 shade trees… I hope you have better luck!
Seeds Now is a great resource for seeds, but also has tons of free info to help get you started. This site provides grow zones to determine which plants grow best in your region, along with planting calendars, weed management, watering, composting and so much more.
Whichever plant you decide to start with, I wish you the best of luck. Let use know how it goes in the comments below.
Now get out there and grow!