The Basics of Vegetable Gardening
Everyone wants to ensure that their families eat the healthiest way possible. Home gardening offers that possibility. Furthermore, home gardening makes good economic sense. Home gardening can produce healthy food for a fraction of the cost you would pay at the supermarket.
Instead of feeding your family food that has been produced miles, possibly even continents away from your home, why not feed them food straight off the plant? That is one of the rewards of home gardening. In addition to being the best choice from a health perspective, home gardening is an environmentally conscious choice as well.
Commercial agriculture is an environmentally dirty business, a business that depends on toxic chemicals and the use of petroleum dependent machinery. Everything from the tractors to the combines to the semis that transport the food from the commercial fields to the store where you buy it adds pollutants to our environment. Agricultural runoff enters our streams and other water bodies and irreversibly impacts them and the plants and animals that live there. Home gardening offers us an alternative.
While it may be impractical for a beginning gardener to believe they can start off producing all of their own food, they certainly have the capability of producing a good percentage of it. Consider your climate zone when choosing your seed and pick what is suited for that zone. Start off with just a few plant varieties, varieties that you know your family will eat. It doesn’t do much good to grow zucchini, for example, if your family will only turn their noses up at it when you put it on their plates.
Test your soil before ever starting your garden. You can buy inexpensive test kits at practically any store that sells gardening supplies. Alternatively, the county extension office will test your soil for you, as will some universities. By testing, you know what you need to do to amend your soil before you ever start your garden.
Mulching is an excellent management move for any garden. Not only does it add nutrients, it impedes weed growth and water loss through evaporation. You can make your own compost or buy it from your garden supply shop. Make sure you are familiar with the contents of commercially produced mulch and are very sure of its origin. A common technique today is to add effluent from sewage treatment plants to recycled plant matter to produce mulch. While this is commendable from a recycling perspective, it might be better to reserve that type of mulch for use on non-edible plants!
In conclusion, home gardening is something most of us can do. All you need is a small plot of ground or perhaps even a container or two that you can set on your porch or balcony. Home gardening saves money but, more importantly, it provides our family healthier food options. Another critical reason to choose to create a home garden is that you will lessen your impact on the environment. While the reduction of your impact all by itself may seem minimal, the reality is that more and more people are making similar decisions. Collectively, our efforts can make a very real difference.