April 30, 2012 in Features

Do Your Part: Enjoy taste of homegrown foods

Terri Bennett McClatchy
 
Associated Press photo

Grow tomatoes at home.
(Full-size photo)

Want to join the grow-your-own food movement but just don’t know where to start? Don’t fear. Spring is here and it’s the perfect time to start growing delicious foods right where you live. Why not begin with foods that are nearly fail-proof? Here are my top five foods to grow at home whether you have a lot of space or just a sunny window. A spot with six hours or more of sunlight is all you need.

Tomatoes: Did you know that tomatoes are the most popular piece of produce to grow at home? Besides being delicious, tomatoes are fairly simple to grow. There are thousands of varieties to choose from. You can grow tomatoes in containers, raised garden beds, upside down or in a traditional garden.

Herbs: Talk about instant gratification! Herbs are fast growing so you can experience their flavors in no time. Herbs such as parsley, mint, basil and chives can be grown in a sunny window indoors. They also thrive outdoors in containers and are attractive when mixed with potted flowers.

Lettuce: Lettuce will get you the biggest bang for your buck plus it’s super simple to grow. Think about it. If you spend a couple bucks to plant lettuce, you’ll make that money back the first time you make a salad from your garden. Lettuce is a cool season crop and needs just six inches of soil to grow.

Strawberries: Strawberries are the perfect fruit to grow at home and will return year after year without a whole lot of work. Just remember a few things with strawberries. They need regular watering and fresh fertilizer every few weeks. Strawberries grow best in the spring or late fall.

Peas and beans: There are many options when it comes to peas and beans. Think green beans, snow peas, sugar peas and wax beans. Peas are a cool season crop and most bean varieties are warm season crops but both grow on vines. This makes them perfect for a small space because you can train them to grow up a trellis, stakes and string, or a fence.

There are many reasons to grow foods at home. You’ll know exactly what went into growing them and you’ll be saving money – all at the same time. But best of all are the tasty rewards enjoyed with family and friends.


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