With the kids back at school and moms & dads back at work, your life may be starting to show signs of routine and getting back to “normal”. The holiday chapter has been closed recorded only in photographs, memories and journals. Perhaps, you have made some new year’s resolutions for 2013. To be thinner, happier, healthier, richer?
A new year is a new start (often referred to as turning over a new leaf). We want you to turn over a literal “new leaf”. Sacrifice a bit of that green lawn or paving and create your very own vegetable garden.
Why? Well, here are a few reasons:
Why you should have a Vegetable Garden
- It will help you save money!
- Working in the garden reduces stress.
- You will get healthier. Not only will you end up eating more fruits and vegetables, but you will be exercising. Did you know that, according to http://www.care2.com, you can burn as many calories in 45 minutes of gardening as you can in 30 minutes of aerobics?
- You can reconnect with your family. Get your family involved in the garden, kids love planting seeds and watching them grow (and they are learning at the same time).
- Growing your own fruits and vegetables means that you know exactly what does (and does not) go into your food and where it comes from.
- Produce found in the grocery store is typically picked half ripe, having an effect on its flavour. You can have the freshest, full-flavoured fruits and vegetables picked straight from the source!
How to Start
- Start Small. When planning a garden it is better to start small. Each year you can increase in size or variety.
- Choose a Sunny Location. It is important to choose a sunny location for growing vegetables. Most vegetables need 6 to 8 hours of direct sun a day for best results.
- What to grow? For beginners, start with herbs or cherry tomatoes. Zucchini, squash, bell peppers, and lettuce are also good additions to your vegetable garden. Remember to only plant the vegetables that you will use.
- Give your garden plenty of Water.
- Feed your Soil. As with any kind of garden, success usually starts with the soil. Most vegetables do best in moist, well-drained soil that’s rich in organic matter
Companion planting is the practice used to help deter pests and encourage healthier plants in the garden. Planting herbs in your veggie garden not only helps to control pests but you will also have access to herbs that can be used in your everyday cooking.
Here are some herbs that you can plant:
- Basil – enhances the taste of tomatoes and also helps to protect them from disease and insects
- Garlic – repels aphids and controls cutworms and horn-worms in tomatoes
- Horseradish – planted near potatoes, horseradish controls potato bugs and encourages more disease-resistant potato tubers
- Thyme – planted near cabbage, it deters cabbage-worms and white-fly. Thyme also attracts bees to tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants, where the bees will pollinate the plants and give you more fresh produce
- Chives – help to prevent mildew, deter green flies, and repel aphids
- Catnip – is good for controlling flea beetles
- Marigolds – produce a root secretion that destroy root eating nematodes