Growing Food At Home (In Any Space!)
The planting season is almost fully underway. Many first-time gardeners are trying out growing fruits and vegetables this season, and for good reason! Growing food at home is an adventure, and a fun way to learn about gardening, healthy eating, and cooking. It’s possible to grow some food of your own, whether you have a backyard with a veggie plot, a small patio, or a tiny balcony space. Here are a few of the ways we’re growing fresh produce in ALL spaces!
How About Herbs?
Herbs add fragrance and flavour to your cooking, and enhance your outdoor space with unique texture and enticing aroma. Try growing herbs in pots or planters in a sunny location that’s easy to access for harvesting. Tuck herbs along warm walkways, or along the fronts of garden borders. Plant aromatic herbs like basil, mint, fennel or dill into the veggie garden, since they attract pollinators, too.
Growing In Containers
It’s a common misconception that you need abundant space to try growing vegetables. We can’t all be backyard farmers, so it’s a wonderful surprise to discover that many foods can be grown in containers! Most herbs, leafy greens, peppers, tomatoes, and even some root vegetables and climbing vines can happily thrive in the right pots.
The main concern in choosing an ideal plant-and-pot combination is the amount of soil needed. Big plants like tomatoes and peppers need ample root space and lots of water and food to grow, bloom, and bear fruit. In contrast, a small pot or window box is all that’s required for most herbs or fresh salad mixes. Start simply by trying one or two foods that you love, and build confidence by learning as you grow! Any container with a hole for drainage can become a garden in any space that gets 4 or more hours of sun each day.
As plants in containers mature and grow, their care needs increase. It’s important to know that in summer months, veggies grown in pots will need water every day, and regular fertilization. Unlike growing in the ground, the only nutrients available to the plant are those that you provide. Choose a plant food that is formulated for fruits and vegetables, and use it according to the package directions. Some of our favourite organic options are here below.
Raised Beds & Planters
A relatively new option on the market, raised bed planters offer the advantages of raised garden beds and the flexibility of a planter. The Veg Trug series of planters come in several sizes and styles. With a deep V-shaped trough for planting, they allow enough space for a full veggie garden in a compact space!
Raised beds offer several advantages over in-ground gardens. Their higher position make them more accessible. This makes planting, weeding, watering and harvesting all much easier than bending and crouching. The ability to position them anywhere also means they can be close to the house for quick picking at meal times. On the ground, raised garden beds are a great solution for areas with poor soil quality or drainage, and are more accessible for some.
The Right Soil
Your soil supports the growth of your plants, so it’s important to have the right qualities of soil in the right places! In the ground, edible plants mostly prefer a fairly rich, well-draining soil in a sunny location. It’s helpful to add compost to vegetable garden beds each season. Compost provides nutrition and increases beneficial microbial activity in the soil, improving texture and supporting healthy growth.
For growing food in containers, great drainage is key! Choose a specialty soil blend that’s designed for use in containers. These mixes provide the right balance for growing plants in pots and planters.
Planting Vegetables & Fruits
No matter where or how you grow, it’s fun and rewarding to learn more about food production. Enjoy the delicious process! Choose vegetables and fruits you and your family enjoy eating regularly, and discover the thrill of making meals with ingredients you’ve harvested yourself.