Spring Into Gardening

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New beginnings, re-birth, green grass, colorful flowers, and of course...allergies. I've been blessed not to suffer from seasonal allergies, however, a fair amount of people do. Just look at the sale ads and commercials offering medications that claim their product is the best choice to alleviate the suffering of runny noses, watery eyes, and sneezes. In an eariler post, I commented about how alfalfa can be used to diminish allergies, even permanently. It may work for some, but will take persistence and time.

Spring is also a time to enjoy being out doors. Since I work inside all day, I'm busting to get home, get supper done and go outside. For me, working in the  garden is a great stress reliever. In the end, I'm working out my frustrations and have something of beauty in the end. For years, I primarily gardened flowers with an occasional tomato and pepper plant. Last summer though, my husband tilled up a patch so I could plant some food for us. Thinking back, it does seem silly to spend so much time outside weeding and trimming flowers and yet, unable to provide anything more than beauty (which I do enjoy). My flower beds are mature and don't require as much maintenance now. That gives me more time to spend in the vegetable garden. I also added a chicken coop with four ladies to provide the family with fresh eggs. There is NO comparison with fresh eggs to store bought ones. They actually have a nice taste and are more nutritious by providing 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, 2/3 more vitamin A, 2 times more omega- 3 fatty acids, 3 times more vitamin E, and 7 times more beta carotene.

With last year's patch being derived from the removal of trees and weeds, the soil was poor. Excitedly, I ordered seeds and planted accordingly. Nothing came up in that soil. Even the squash didn't grow, and I thought squash would grow on a rock! What's a new vegetable gardener to do? I went to my local cooperative store and purchased vegatable plants. The yield that year was nothing to brag about, but I did get a few things from it.

This year, with the addition of chicken poo and compost, the soil is spot on! Early in the spring, the garden was tilled and radishes were planted along with some other cool crops.  Within a month, I had fresh radishes on my kitchen counter. Every seed seemed to sprout. The down side to this rich soil is now the weeds are growing like crazy too. Soil is something to pay attention to. If the seeds and plants don't have the right stuff, then your hard work will be in vain. If you are having trouble with certain plants, there are places to take the soil for testing. Contact your local extension agent for advice.

Container gardens are a great option if you live in an area that is not conducive to a plot of ground. I've seen some really nice, attractive containers that provide delicious veggies all through the summer. Even growing your own herbs in a container can provide delicious additions to cooking throughout the spring, summer, and fall.

As a vegatable gardening novice, I frequently ask for my mother's advice on plantings. She also helps me preserve for the winter. There is a lot to learn, but I am excited about growing my own non-GMO vegetables that are free from pesticides. Last year was definetly a learning year and very few things developed well. With the addition of my chicken coop and the fertiziler it provides, this year's soil seems much more conducive to growing plants. While it is work, I feel good about knowing where the food we eat comes from. I'm also looking forward to preserving for the winter months so we can continue to enjoy the "fruits of labor."

health-bite: grow your own food