Friday, April 03, 2009

Spring Time -- Let's Garden

Finally, I think that we are breaking winter and spring is almost here in Minnesota. Even though we had some snow this week, I have been waking up to the melody of birds every morning -- oh, so wonderful and such JOY!

My husband was outside last week starting to break apart the soil to prepare it for planting. We don't have a lawn, but rather flower and vegetable gardens. I am so happy to hear that across the country more people are pulling out their landscaped lawns and adding flowers, vegetables and even chicken coops. There is a movement happening! I think that this movement is partially driven by the economic times, but also interest in organic foods and having nutritious foods available -- in your own backyard. According to USA Today, The National Gardening Association predicts a 40 percent increase in the number of homes growing vegetable gardens in comparison with two years ago.

It was a few weeks ago, when Michelle Obama, along with some DC area school children, planted a vegetable garden which will be used in the meals prepared at the White House. The White House vegetable garden may have an effect on the nation, "Those gardens, modeled after a White House patch planted by Eleanor Roosevelt in 1943, were intended to inspire self-sufficiency, and at their peak supplied 40 percent of the nation's fresh produce, said Roger Doiron, founding director of Kitchen Gardeners International", says USA Today.

Even if you are a person who doesn't like vegetables, having your own vegetable garden and eating a freshly picked fruit or vegetable is an experience. I remember back to when I was living in California and had my first taste of a "real strawberry". I grew up eating strawberries flown in from California, but also ate a lot of wild strawberries at our cabin in Northern Michigan. The wild strawberries were small and tart, perfect for making jam. One day on a trip down the California coast we stopped outside of Watsonville, home of Driscolls and many strawberry fields. We had a bunch of strawberries that were picked that morning and were farmed without chemicals. The strawberries were very large, incredibly juicy and oh so sweet. I will remember that moment forever because it felt like I was eating a strawberry for the first time. It tasted nothing like the strawberries I had eaten all of my life.

Growing a garden does take some planning and reading. Below are some resources to help you get started.

Happy Planting!

University of Minnesota Extension -- excellent resource and should be your first call if thinking about planting a garden. The extension offers educational programs and e-learning specific to Minnesota and the northern region.

Sunset Magazine's Guide to Growing A Vegetable Garden -- good guide. Sunset magazine is based on the West coast, so may not provide specific advice about Minnesota.

Sunset Magazine's Instructional Video on How To Plant A Tomato
-- great simple video on planting a tomato plant.

Urban Gardening

City Gardening Magazine


familyfeedingdynamics said...

We just planted our first seeds. Cilantro, basil and cherry tomatoes. Alas, we don't get enough sun to do a proper garden, but I'm hoping a few strategically set pots will do the trick. We'll try to expand on it! Another thing to look forward to in Spring is the Farmer's market!

Chef Marshall - Finding Yourself Through Food said...

hi Michele,

Great,timely, topic! I'm excited to see budding plants stretch to the sky in our yard. Maybe someday we'll even have some delectable veggies to pick!

My good friend Meghan Quayle (she just was awarded Young Dietitian of the Year) mentioned your name last week, and it reminded me how I had wanted to connect with you about 3 years ago now, but I didn't make it happen.

It's exciting to hear that you're rocking and rolling. To your continued success!
Best Regards, Marshall O'Brien