You Can Grow Your Own Food!
If you are on the fence about putting in a little garden or maybe expanding your current vegetable garden I want you to encourage you – DO IT!
Gardening is simply more than a hobby.
- It is self sufficiency.
- It is freedom.
- It is money saving (sometimes).
- It is exercise.
- It is fresh air.
- It is a miracle.
I took these pictures Monday at our homestead.
I swear, I am floored every year in June.
I’m certain you get tired of hearing about it, but I just have to tell you (again) that I live in the most beautiful place in the world.
HOW TO START GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD – START SMALL
Growing your own food can start with one simple vegetable bed.
Back when we first moved to our farm (10 years ago) I started with 4 garden beds. One for each child.
Now I have 21 beds and a decent sized conventional row garden as well. It’s not a burden. I love my gardens and love spending time in them.
If you are just getting started, I would encourage you to start small. Grow a salad garden. Maybe a few tomato plants. A couple pepper plants. Some lettuce and some basil.
A simple garden is easy and fun. If you find that you are bored and would like to spend more time in your garden – you can expand it. By starting small you ensure that your plants will get plenty of attention. A smaller garden will improve your ability to succeed.
If you are super intimidated with the thought of growing vegetables, start with some herbs.
Herbs are basically weeds that have a purpose in life. They are easy to grow and can provide seasonings for your table all year long.
HOW TO START GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD – WATCH A MIRACLE
When I see my gardens flourishing with gorgeous food I am amazed. Most of what I grow starts with simple seed packets.
Tiny seeds, placed underground and left to be watered and sprouted by God. It doesn’t take long before you are smiling at those seedlings and the next thing you know- you have more food in your side yard than Kroger.
You too can grow a simple garden. It’s not hard. Seeds, water, earth. That’s all.
I think I need the experience of growing the food as much as I need the food itself. It keeps my eyes on God. It keeps my heart in a state of wonder. It reminds me that all this goodness is not from stores or supermarkets or restaurants.
HOW TO START GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD – TOMATOES AND PEPPERS
Did you know that most of the world will die having never tasted a homegrown tomato? Alton Brown said it the other day on his GoodEats show. So sad. If you have never tasted a homegrown tomato – you need to go buy a seedling and put in a plant this weekend. There is nothing that compares.
The tomatoes sold at supermarkets (and many farm markets) are inferior, tasteless and void of most nutrition. You see, the tomatoes that are sold at stores are specifically grown for that purpose.
The varieties they sell were created to:
- be picked while green
- travel across the globe on trucks
- sit in storage
- sit in grocery stores
- look decent for customers when they get to the store displays
- be profitable
They are not grown for flavor, variety or nutrition.
Not only are tomatoes something you need to taste fresh off the vine, they are incredibly nutritious and the most popular vegetable grown in home gardens.
This why you should grow tomatoes…. they are the star of the show.
I have around 35 tomato plants this year. It may actually be 37, I’m not entirely sure how many I have at this juncture. I started with 40 plants but between the icy spring we had, my accidental “pruning” the top off a couple and my free range chickens, I have lost a few.
They look wonderful. They are healthy, covered in leafy foliage and dripping with gorgeous green tomatoes. I use homemade tomato cages (made from woven wire fencing) and tomato steaks to keep them upright. Go here to see how I build my cages. It’s easy, cheap and can support a 6 foot tall tomato plant.
My pepper plants keep disappearing. Yes, I said disappearing. I think it’s deer. I’m going to have to drape a little temporary fencing around my garden so the deer stop eating my pepper plants. Arg.
I have a row of peppers (5 varieties) in my conventional garden. When I say “row” I mean about 25 plants.
Peppers are typically pest free since they are naturally spicy the bugs don’t prefer them….. but apparently deer do.
HOW TO START GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD – KID FRIENDLY
I love to let my children chose what we grow. They are far more likely to eat it if they had some say in growing it. Some plants that are fun for kids are radishes (they come up in days & can be eaten in 4 weeks), sugar snap peas and cherry tomatoes.
Another great addition to the garden that most American kids will eat is broccoli. At least, mine will.
My broccoli is comical this year. I am trying a new method to keep the worms away.
It involves queen sized pantyhose & makes all my broccoli heads look like bank robbers. I’m not sure if it works or not – but it makes for great conversations when folks come visit my garden.
HOW TO START GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD – ONIONS & GARLIC
Onions are easy, easy, easy go grow. Because of their strong odor and spice, bugs hate them. People often plant garlic and onions around other plants to keep the pests away.
I have 4 beds of onions this year. It seems that no matter how many onions I grow, it’s never enough. I will run out of onions before they get a chance to spoil or rot. How to grow onions here.
The garlic will be coming out of the garden to cure very soon. If you leave it in the ground too long your heads will begin to open and separate. You don’t want that. It’s best to get the garlic out as soon as the tops turn brown and begin to flop over. How to grow garlic here.
Here’s a picture of my row garden.
The row to your far right is the potatoes. The next row is the peppers. Then there is a row containing pumpkins & eggplant. The last 2 rows (far left) are the tomato plants (37 of them).
HOW TO START GROWING YOUR OWN FOOD – BEANS
Green beans are a great addition to a small garden. Bush varieties don’t need a trellis at all. If you get pole beans, just give them a ladder or some branches to climb. They will grow upward and stay out of your way.
Green beans are not only simple to grow – they will grow and grow and grow. Bean plants can easily be started from seed. They grow fast and produce beans like mad. After I have canned and eaten all the green beans I humanly can handle these plants will still be making me beans. As long as you keep picking, they will continue to produce new tender beans for your table. How to can green beans here.
I want you all to experience the joy of having a garden. It’s not hard and the tomatoes alone are worth the effort!
You will be surprised at how productive you’re garden can be. You’ll be amazed at what happens when you place seeds in the ground.
It’s like watching a miracle. I love it.
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