How to Have Your Plants and Eat Them Too
There are few experiences quite like growing your own food. It’s equal parts hard work and leap of faith. You plan, you plant, you water, and you wait. With patience (and sometimes, a touch of luck) you’ll get to make meals with the fruits, vegetables, and herbs you’ve grown yourself. They’re as fresh as possible, extremely affordable, and well worth the effort. Intrigued? Here are some tips for enriching your meals with fresh-grown produce:
Planning Your Plot
Before you dive into planting, take some time to make a plan:
- Start by evaluating your space, light levels, and climate to figure out which plants are most likely to thrive.
- Consider getting your soil tested so you know if you need to balance your pH levels.
- Don’t let minimal space intimidate you: There are plenty of foods that grow well in apartments.
- Container gardening and vertical gardening are two great ways to make the most of a small porch or balcony.
Caring For Your Plants
Consistency is the key when it comes to gardening.
- If you’re just starting off, use plants that all need roughly the same amount of care so there’s less to keep track of.
- Prefer a more complicated task? Use a garden planner to keep track of each plant’s care plan.
- If you know you’re likely to forget to water your garden, consider setting up an irrigation system. This can easily be done with a manual valve; however, if you really want to get sophisticated, you can set up a watering system with globe or ball flow control valves.
- Regularly aerate your soil to ensure your garden gets the right water balance.
- Check your plants for signs of disease or pests so you can take action.
Harvesting and Storing
Once they’ve grown, it’s time to chow down!
- Research the best time to harvest different crops.
- Use or give away fresh, ripe produce as quickly as possible to get the best flavor.
- Dry your herbs at the end of the season to use over winter.
- Canning allows you to store pickled veggies and preserves for months or even years.
Gardening is an excellent hobby. It gets you outdoors, fosters dedication and patience, and yields an excellent result. Keep these tips on hand as you develop your green thumb and discover all gardening has to offer!