It’s difficult to be thinking of lush green vegetable gardens when the ground is still frozen and covered with ice and snow. But now is precisely the PERFECT time for you to get planning. Deciding what you want to grow, how to organize your space, and make sure you have the ideal seeds available is only a small part of the fun and reward of organic gardening.
Growing your own organic foods has become increasingly popular as people worry about food miles, food safety, pesticide contamination, and genetically modified foods. Though it may seem like it’s not worth the effort, a garden provides plenty of benefits. Not only will your food be nutritious and as close to chemical-free as possible, you’ll also get great exercise from planting, weeding, and harvesting.
Planning is important for all gardens, but it’s essential for vegetable gardens. “Without some advance figuring, it is entirely possible to end up with 20 heads of cauliflower ready to harvest in the same week, followed by 20 heads of broccoli the next week, dump-truck loads of zucchini for a month, and bitter, inedible lettuces from July onward,” Miranda Smith writes in her book Complete Home Gardening: Growing Secrets and Techniques for Gardeners.
Start by choosing which vegetables you want to grow. The first step is to make a list of all the foods you love. Then head to your local library and pore over gardening books to see if there are other foods you didn’t think of that grow particularly well in your climate. Don’t forget to also talk to friends, family, co-workers, and even staff at your local garden center; anyone can be a fantastic source for learning about different types of tomatoes, for example.
If you’ve never planted a garden before, let this be the year to do it! You can start with pots if you are limited with space. Don’t let gardening intimidate you. There’s nothing more rewarding than eating the fruits of your own harvest. Good luck!