Grow Vegetables Anywhere! - April 14, 2017 Newsletter

Grow Vegetables Anywhere!

EHE Newsletter, Volume 17, Number 48
April 14, 2017

There’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh herbs and vegetables from your garden. If you’re a city dweller you may be thinking “What garden? I live in the city! I don’t have room for a garden!” Don’t despair! You can bring the country to the city and grow your own herbs and vegetables even if you face the challenge of limited space. Of course, even those living in the country or suburbs may face their own challenges growing herbs and vegetables. The good news is that you can grow fresh produce no matter where you live—you just need to be creative! You can use box gardens, pots, containers and even window boxes to grow herbs and vegetables--even in the most unexpected places.

Fresh Produce in Small Spaces

Growing your own herbs and vegetables in the city is possible, you just need to find ways to optimize the available space you do have--a window sill, balcony, sidewalk, patio, deck or rooftop are options for those with limited space. If all you have is a window, use a window box. If you have a deck, patio or sidewalk space, pots and containers are probably best. If you’re lucky enough to have rooftop access a box garden could be ideal.

The decision regarding what to plant should be driven by a few considerations. First and foremost, think about the herbs and vegetables that you and your family love the most. Then, research the growing conditions they require such as how much space and how much sun each variety needs. Most herbs and vegetables love the sunlight, so anywhere that will get approximately six hours of sun each day should work. The proper space required for each plant is important to know because it will allow you to determine the size of the pot, container or garden box necessary to foster optimum growth. When you have this information you can determine the types of herbs and vegetables that will grow best in the environment you are able to provide.

If you have very limited space, chances are you’ll be utilizing pots, containers and window boxes. If this is the case, there are a number of things to keep in mind:

· There are more and more compact and dwarf varieties of vegetables available that can grow successfully in small spaces and will allow you to maximize your gardens output—think roma or cherry tomatoes; bush cucumber varieties that are bred for compact vines; miniature carrots, peppers and eggplant; and baby lettuces.

· You are not limited to dwarf varieties however, green beans, peas, broccoli, lettuce, spinach, carrots, onions and eggplant all grow well in containers.

· Pots, containers and window boxes can dry out quickly in hot weather so be sure to provide plenty of water. The smaller the container, the quicker it will dry out. In addition, plastic pots are better at retaining moisture than the popular terra-cotta pots.

· Be sure not to over-water herbs and vegetable as that can be equally detrimental to too little water. Make sure there are drainage holes at the bottom of containers so excess water can escape.

· Oregano, parsley, basil, thyme, sage, chives and cilantro all grow well in smaller spaces and are particularly good choices for window boxes and small pots or containers if that’s all you have room for.

· Pick herbs and vegetables once they are big enough to enjoy. Most vegetables are more productive when harvested early and often.

· When filling pots, containers and window boxes with soil, be sure to use good quality potting soil with compost and fertilizer already added.

At the end of the day, most herbs and vegetables can be grown in any type of container provided it meets the space requirements for that particular plants optimal growth; that it gets enough sunlight; gets the appropriate amount of water; and has drainage holes so excess water can escape.

Fresh Produce from Box Gardens

If you live in a city and have a rooftop, large balcony, or deck available to you, or if you live in the country or suburbs, a box garden can be a wonderful option for you. Box gardens, also called raised garden beds, allow you to create an optimal growing environment for herbs and vegetables. They range in size, and can be as small as one foot by one foot, or they can be quite large—it all depends on the space you have available. Generally you just want to be sure that they aren’t so wide that you can’t reach into the center of the garden bed from one side (4 feet is a common width), and they should be a minimum of six inches deep, although deeper is generally better.

Box gardens have many benefits. They allow you to:

· Choose the best soil for the particular herbs and vegetables you want to grow

· Keep weeds to a minimum

· Keep garden pests to a minimum

· Avoid soil compaction from stepping on the soil around plants

· Provide optimal drainage and moisture retention for plants

· Plant herbs and vegetables earlier in the season so you get a longer growing season

· Avoid back strain from bending over (if you build the garden bed high enough)

· Design the layout however you’d like to create a visually appealing garden area

Because garden boxes allow you to create an ideal growing environment for the particular herbs and vegetables you want to plant, they can be an excellent option for a healthy and prolific garden-in both small and large spaces.

What Is The Bottom Line?

A key recommendation of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, is that individuals consume “A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other.” And, fortunately for many of us, the grocery store isn’t very far away and it contains a wide variety of vegetables to choose from. However, while it is certainly handy to run to the grocery store and get what we need, there’s also nothing quite like stepping outside to pick fresh herbs and vegetables from your own garden for dinner. And, it’s the perfect time--Spring is here! So start planning your vegetable garden today!

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MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The information is not intended to constitute medical advice and is not a substitute for consultation with a physician or other healthcare provider. Individuals with specific complaints should seek immediate consultation from their personal physicians.

Source - EHE

EHE International