Friday, October 2, 2009

Fading Gardens

Well, it's that time of year again when the gardens are going to sleep for the winter. Because I live in a small home, with a postage stamp size yard, I belong to a community garden here in Philly and am waiting for the inevitable email informing me the garden will be closing for the season and that we all need to get together to do the final fall cleanup. This year hasn't been real good in the garden with all the rain we had for so long but now that things have finally dried up and the sun is getting through, the plants are giving one last effort to produce some fruits and veggies so I am hoping the fall cleanup email comes later rather than sooner.

The reason I joined the garden group was to plant and harvest 100% organically grown veggies. With the economy the way it's been and the high cost of buying organic, I thought I would give growing my own a try. In the past I've grown the typical patio tomatoes and string beans and green peppers in pots and crevices out back, but this year I went all out at the community garden with watermelon, cantaloupe, carrots, red beets, brussels sprouts, mixed salad greens and more. One of my most surprising harvests was in late spring and early summer after I planted snow peas. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine that I would reap almost 8 pounds of the little darlings! I mean, how many snow peas can 2 people eat? But I am grateful because the few times I have purchased non-organic snow peas at the supermarket, they cost anywhere between $4 and $6 per pound, basically green gold. So my $2 seed packet yielded over $32 worth of produce. I still have a watermelon waiting to be picked and a few cantaloupes and the last of the string beans but all the rest of the plants are done. Soon, I will be starting to plan what I'm going to plant next spring and definitely altering my choices for next year based on this years experiences.

So now is a good time to begin thinking about if YOU might like to try your hand at growing your own organic veggies next spring. I have often heard from people that say they wished they could eat less pesticide sprayed produce but that the high cost of organic was not in their budgets. Well for a $2 pack of seeds, you can have a dozen cantaloupe and for a $3 seedling tray, you can pick strings beans all summer and fall. It doesn't take a big yard or even a yard at all for that matter, many veggies can be grown in pots. Aside from the environmental and financial benefits, another reason to grow your own is it's just plain FUN. It's hard to describe how much pleasure can be derived from seeing seeds you planted sprout and turn into huge plants that bear vegetables you can pick and eat. And kids get an even bigger kick out of it. I let my granddaughter help me plant the carrot seeds on Mothers Day and even though she doesn't like most veggies, carrots included, she was nevertheless fascinated when she saw what she had planted pulled out of the ground, ready to be cooked and eaten.

Try it, I guarantee you'll like it!

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