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Foods You Can Grow at Home

October 8th, 2012

grow_indoorsHave you ever considered the idea of a garden and dismissed it because you thought you didn’t have the space outdoors? You might be surprised to learn that many items can be container-grown on your patio, balcony, or indoors on your window sill! For your first adventure into gardening, you should choose items that make a regular appearance on your table, like herbs.

What to grow

  • Herbs – With ample sunlight and drainage, you can grow cilantro, mint, rosemary, parsley, basil, and oregano, just to name a few.
  • Sprouts are really easy to grow, and you can find sprout kits at many supermarkets and natural foods stores. They grow quickly and plentifully, and require very little space.
  • Plants – Start with tomatoes, peppers, or easy-to-grow vegetables like squash, cucumbers, or beans.

Types of containers

  • Window boxes
  • Hanging baskets
  • Clusters of pots and narrow containers at various levels on plant stands
  • Hydroponic gardens – Find information about a hydroponic garden to grow food in your windows at Windowfarms. This vertical growing system allows for year-round growing in almost any window, letting plants use natural window light, the climate control of your living space, and organic “liquid soil.” Nutrient-spiked water is pumped up from a reservoir at the base of the system and trickles down from bottle to bottle, bathing the roots along the way. Water and nutrients that are not absorbed collect in the reservoir and will be pumped through again at the next interval. You can grow almost anything in a Windowfarm, except root vegetables like potatoes or radishes, or plants like corn or wheat that are too tall for the system.The 4-foot frames fit most windows.
  • Aerogardens, another dirt-free option, are guaranteed to grow. They’re sold by Amazon or directly from this site. You can add grow lights if you don’t have enough natural light to sustain the pods all year round.

What to purchase and where

If time or lack of space to start from seeds are a factor, small plants would be a better choice even if they are more expensive. Once you decide on seeds, plants, or a combination, you’ll have to find a place to purchase them. Local stores usually carry seeds and plants specific to your growing area, or they can be ordered from various seed companies. The seed companies deal exclusively with products specific to gardening, offer better quality, and provide customer service to answer any questions you may have and guide you in your decisions. If any purchase of seeds, tools, or supplies from them proves unsatisfactory, they will either replace the item or refund the purchase price.

Check out your nearest dollar store for inexpensive tools, gloves, pots, plant stands, and hooks. Or try your hand at making pots from recycled newspaper, see directions here.

Growing zone

Certain plants are adapted to particular areas of the country more so than others. Charts are available from various seed companies and on the backs of individual seed packets. These charts specify in which growing zone that particular seed will grow well. These growing zones are based on temperatures, daylight hours, and general climate. For the best chance of success, it’s important to keep your growing zone in mind when making your selections.

A final word

Raising your own organic produce can be cheaper and fresher than buying it in the store, and you can be assured that no pesticides will be used. Obviously you get better value if you choose to grow the more expensive items. It’s also a very relaxing hobby that provides a little exercise, while producing tastier and more nutritious foods. And making it a family project might just interest the kids in eating more vegetables. You may not want to go so far as planting fruit trees indoors in pots, but as you can see from this link, it can be done!

Additional resources:

  • Search out resources among your friends, family and acquaintances, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.
  • Read books on the subject of gardening that are available at your local library, bookstores, and online.
  • Another great resource is your local county extension agent. They can provide free quality information on all areas of gardening and are also willing to answer questions.
  • Kitchen Gardeners International is a non-profit community of 25,000 people in 100 countries who are growing their own food in raised beds and helping others to do the same.
  • Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds since 1975.
  • This USDA link provides an interactive plant hardiness map and static state maps.
  • Visit Buxr gardening deals for savings on seeds, plants, and supplies.

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