Gone are the days when we can trust where our food comes from. Today, it is imperative to know who has grown, raised and prepared our food. In order to determine this, we must read labels and ask questions. If we want total control, no questions asked, we must grow our own food like our ancestors did. Yes, growing your own food does take a bit of work, but only if we view it as such. Gardening is very therapeutic and rewarding. How cool would it be to head out to the garden at lunchtime and pick your own lunch! A freshly picked fruit or vegetable has the most nutrients; you can almost taste the sunshine.
April is the perfect time to begin your summer garden. Here is what I would like you to do each week:
(Week 1) Purchase you seeds. The best place to purchase your seeds is at your local health food store. Most stores, including Whole Foods, already have seed packets available for sale. Of course, you can also order your seeds online. My favorite place is Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds (http://rareseeds.com/). All of their seeds are pure, natural and Non-GMO. What seeds should you order? Why a rainbow of course! In addition to purchasing your seeds, please buy seed starting kits and organic potting soil. These items can be purchased at your local home improvement store.
(Week2) Read the back of each seed packet and begin indoor seeds. Make a list so you know which seeds will sow directly into the ground and which ones need to be started indoors. Fill all seed starting kits with soil and plant all indoor seeds such as tomatoes, cucumber, peppers etc. Make sure you mark each plant carefully so there is no confusion later on. Mist with spray bottle and place in a sunny warm window. I start my seeds with the protected clear covering to keep them moist and warm. This is a great and fun project you can do with your children. You can ask them to check it daily and provide water if the soil gets too dry.
(Week3) Clean out last year’s garden. This can be a huge job depending on the size of your garden. It is a good idea to weed, turn the soil and add fresh compost. If you don’t have a garden, this is a time to designate a small area and make one. There are numerous videos and articles of instruction on how to make your own garden. If you have no space at all, please look into container gardening. Growing pots can be purchased at your local home improvement store. I read an article once where someone, who had absolutely no room to plant a garden, took some gutters and screwed them onto the side of their house. They filled them with dirt and voila a garden! There is no excuse! You can find a way to do it!
(Week4) This is the perfect time to begin planting outdoors. Lettuce, kale and some herbs can be safely planted at this time. Please look at the back of your seed packet for specific instructions.
Watch your indoor seeds grow and become miniature plants. Once the danger of frost has passed, usually around Mother’s Day, you can safely plant your indoor plants outdoors. In addition, this is the time to sow your remaining seed packets outdoors. Please watch for weeds, as they can choke your plants. Taking care of a garden is a daily activity, however, it won’t take up too much time if you get family members involved or just plain old relax and enjoy it!