Wednesday, March 3, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

When did I get so crunchy? I don't know but it feels pretty good.

You know there's a name for people like me. We're called crunchy conservatives. And I think I fit the description almost to a tee.

I, personally, don't think environmental efforts should be a government's number one priority when it comes to spending. But I do believe that each of us should be responsible about what we know for sure.

As a family we recycle everything our city allows. We actively try to reduce our use of disposable items and I'm constantly reminding everyone to turn off the lights, television and other electronics when not in use. I like using products that aren't loaded with chemicals and I've recently taken an interest in organic foods.

Organic food choices can be confusing. Even a seemingly easy list to follow like the Dirty Dozen gets confusing. One year the tomato is listed as "Dirty" and the next it moves over to the "Clean" side. What gives?

It seems the only clear way to really know what's going in your body is to grow it yourself. This spring and summer I'm going to give a vegetable garden the old college try. Bonus: It's a great project to do with a three-year-old.

Since my backyard is still full of that white stuff and that beautiful fertile soil here in Minnesota is still frozen solid, I decided to start a few seeds indoors.

I bought potting mix, a few of those biodegradable planters and some seed packets. (Does it matter that the potting mix only shows flowers on the package? Is there a special package for vegetables? If so, I couldn't find it.)

I let William pick out three vegetables and he chose cherry tomatoes, green beans and zucchini. I also bought a basil packet because we go through a lot of basil and buying basil at the store gets pretty spendy.

Using just toothpicks, tape, paper and a Sharpie I made some easy labels.

William and I filled each container with soil and then planted a few seeds in each one taking care to follow the directions on the back of the seed packets. Then we watered and labeled each container.

See? Pretty and organized. I put this tray on a window sill that gets a lot of afternoon sun. After the danger of frost has passed (usually mid May in Minnesota) we can plant these containers directly in the ground.

William woke up this morning and asked if the seeds had grown yet. I can already tell this is going to be a good lesson in patience as well as a whole gamut of other things.

I put the word out on Facebook that I wanted to start a vegetable garden and asked which veggies were the easiest to grow. Based on the comments I received I'm thinking about adding lettuce, carrots, peas and maybe some peppers.

Have you ever tried a vegetable garden? What worked and what didn't? Please share any tips you might have. I don't have much of a green thumb. It's more of a yellowish color. But I'm hoping I can learn.


  1. Organic fertilizer for organic foods. Try:


    Good luck.

  2. Oh Jenny,Grampa Phenow would be so proud,this was something he really enjoyed.He would start his tomato plants indoors about this time,and baby them along.He really did have a green thumb,and his crop always was better than mine.I love to garden also,and Christopher and Angela have also got
    that gene.There is nothing more rewarding than growing your own produce.If you like spinach salad,try growing it,i did last year and it was sooo good!Good luck,Nancy

  3. I wish I had a yard to do this. I suppose I could be like the woman who dug up her rocks and planted a garden, but I think the association frowned on that.

    I must admit, I'm a tad bit jealous. I hope everything grows well! Keep us updated.

  4. Great project!!

    We've had luck with tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, peas, and peppers that last few summers.

    I love to plant vegetable and flower gardens mainly because I love to water them and be out in the sun!

  5. This reminds me I need to do the same! The backyard of our new house is pretty small, but I think I can coerce Josh into crafting a little spot for us. :) The last time I had a garden was when I stayed home with Ashley. She LOVED picking and eating the tomatoes! Although...they were not 'organic' because I used vegetable miracle grow. (if your veggies get in a 'pickle,' miracle grow works!)

  6. I have always, always wanted to start a garden...but I am so intimidated by the whole thing. I think I need a gardening mentor or something.

    I look forward to following your journey.


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