With all the snow on the ground and the colder than average temperatures, it’s a good time to sit back, page through seed catalogs or browse them on line and make plans for this year’s vegetable garden.
All early research indicates food gardening will be big again this year, fueled by higher food costs, concern about food safety and the desire for better tasting produce.
Of course, you can always buy high quality food at farmers markets and through community supported agriculture, or CSA, programs. However, there’s an incredible satisfaction in growing your own.
- Pick a location with at least six hours of direct sun a day. If land is scare, place large containers in sunny areas to grow vegetables. Place tall crops, such as tomatoes and pole beans on the north or east side of the bed so they don’t shade other plants. Check out the free, interactive kitchen garden designs from Gardener’s Supply Co.
- The garden should have access to water.
- Plant only what you and your family will eat. If no one likes eggplant, don’t grow it. That said, don’t be afraid to try something new, such as a different tomato or pepper variety.
There are several good guides on the market to help you know when to plant and harvest. A new entry is Week-by-Week Vegetable Gardener’s Handbook by Ron Kujawski and Jennifer Kujawski (Storey Publishing, $14.95). The father-daughter team from Massachusetts and illustrator Elayne Sears tell us when and how to plant. The handy, wire-bound book has a grid for sketching your garden, pages for notes and tips on preserving your harvest.