So “so long!” to the window sill herb garden in your apartment, and get ready to roll up your sleeves and GROW once you get to the ‘burbs! Even if you don’t have a green thumb, dedicating a small piece of your new yard to organic veggies is a great way to save time—no more rushed weekend runs to the farmers market—and money, while providing a simple, fun, family-friendly activity that lasts (almost!) all year long. Here’s how to get started this fall:
- Choose a small space in your yard—no need to tear up large chunks of land!—that gets good direct sunlight for at least 6-8 hours per day during growing season. No great sunlight? Look to lower-light veggies!
- Make sure you’ve got access to water—a hose is great, but be sure it reaches to your garden easily so even the littlest gardeners can pitch in.
- Rocky terrain? Consider a raised bed vegetable garden, built on top of the ground.
- To guarantee good growth, get your soil tested. You can find plenty of services online, or take some soil from your yard to a local nursery or gardening center—then can help!
- While you’re at the nursery, pick up some organically-grown plants and seeds—this will ensure you’re getting off to an organic start, free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers. These shouldn’t be hard to find, even at the big box stores.
- Now that you’ve selected your veggies, think about companion growing, which yields an even healthier harvest. There’s a great chart on Urban Farmer that highlights what plants are compatible and combative—now that you’ve got your garden planned, consider integrating some of these additional veggies!
- Think it’s too late for fall veggies? Think again! Greens such as arugula, spinach and kale can still be planted, as can peppers, beets, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce and radishes.
- Then remember to mulch well, keep your garden clean and weed-free and water and fertilize throughout the process—then enjoy!
Besides the cost savings and family time almost guaranteed, your organic garden will help your brood eat healthier, more flavorful food and, likely, will provide additional opportunities to build community—you’re hitting up the nursery throughout the seasons, meeting local gardeners and, maybe, even sharing some of your harvest with your new neighbors!