Once you’ve decided on what to grow the next step is to make certain you have everything your plants need to thrive. Soil, sun and water are essential! If you are choosing to grow in the ground be sure to till your soil to break up the weeds and assist your garden bed with drainage. I always add garden soil and compost (purchased at Lowe’s or Home Depot) to my garden bed to provide my garden with vital nutrients and quality soil to encourage strong root systems. If you are choosing to do container gardening I suggest layering your container. The container should be filled about ¾ of the way with a mixture of potting soil and compost. The remaining area should be filled with a seed starting mixture to encourage a strong root system. Strong roots mean strong plants! Another option for those who would like to grow from seed but are a little unsure about doing so is The Burpee Ultimate Growing System http://www.burpee.com/seed-starting/burpee-ultimate-growing-system-prod001254.html . This system comes with either 36 or 72 cells. Very easy to use and creates great seedlings for transplanting into your garden or containers. With so many options for starting your own garden why not give it a try! Fresher food taste better and provides your body with more of the nutrients it needs. Feel free to ask questions or share best practices. All questions and comments are welcomed!
If you are a beginning gardener take things slow, plant 4 or 5 easily managed plants that can be frequently used. Bell Peppers, tomatoes, any variety of lettuce, eggplant and cucumber are easy vegetables to grow. Survey your friends and see if they may be interested in forming a garden co-op, this will allow you to reap the benefit of many different fruits and vegetables without having to do all the work yourself and it encourages community involvement toward healthier lifestyles.
Don’t have much space? Don’t worry some vegetables can be planted in containers that don’t require much space. Five gallon containers make great planters for vegetables. Depending on the bakeries in your area you may be able to snag a few freebies from containers they’ve previously used. Be sure to clean out the container thoroughly with a very mild cleaner, try using a little liquid soap and A LOT of water! If you’re handy you can even make self-watering containers which your plants will love! Just check out this video http://youtu.be/aZUCxBHeq04 . Not handy, no worries The Growbox by The Garden Patch and EarthBox are great options for planting veggies. I would like to note the pre-manufactured self-watering containers are better for those who choose to start their garden with seedlings.
Your body craves fresh foods, why not grow them fresh yourself! Growing your own fruits, vegetables and herbs guarantees you’ll only intake what you place in your garden. Purchasing organic food can become costly but growing your own plants is easier than you think. The million dollar question is where do I start? When taking on any project the best beginning is to plan. What is it that you would like to grow? Once you’ve decided what you would like to grow it is important plant during the recommended time frame. The LSU Agricultural Center has compiled a Vegetable Planting Guide which is a phenomenal reference for planting date and days to harvest. The link can be found below: