Grow Your Own Food Challenge: A Late Start

I’m getting a late start on the Grow Your Own Food Challenge, but I finally got my garden planted.Β  Spring takes care of the perennials for me, but I had to work to get the annuals planted.

My β€œgarden” is actually one small garden at the back of the yard, two large containers at the fence, and my kitchen windowsill. I also have some fruits scattered around the yard – two apple trees, a fig tree, and a grapevine, plus two mulberry trees that were here when we moved in.

A local nursery is going out of business, so we picked up several vegetables and herbs at a steep discount. Right after buying these transplants, I found the Seeds of Change Sowing Millions Project, so now I have several seeds on the way, too. I might have to make some more of the yard into gardening beds.

My philosophy on what plants to grow in my garden is a combination of things. When I buy a bunch of herbs at the store, I rarely manage to use the entire bunch. Even though I put any inedible vegetables matter on the compost pile, it’s still a waste of money. I have chives, cilantro, and basil because I use them frequently, but not in large enough quantities. I was unable to find a shallot at the nursery, but I’ll get a small bulb from another gardener and have enough on hand at all times, but not too much.

The other reason I choose plants to grow at home is the freshness. Tomatoes are a famous example of the huge taste difference between picking it off the vine and finding it at the grocery store. Peppers, I think, don’t taste as good from the grocery store, either.

We got our old standbys for the peppers – a jalapeno and an anaheim. I’m not crazy about the anaheim. I think we get anaheims because they’re huge and my daughter feels proud of her gardening accomplishments. (There’s another reason I choose the plants I do. My kid enjoys it.)

For tomatoes, we’re trying a couple of varieties we’ve never tried before. The green zebra tomato and the Indian stripe tomato both look like they’ll be pretty on the plant. As heirlooms, hopefully they’ll taste good, too.

We had a good rain last night to get the garden off to a good start. I’m looking forward to our first harvest.

Written by Heather Carr

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