::: Fresh, organic food from small places.
++ Urban Plantation: San Diego, CA, USA / Don's Digital Café
Eating organic doesn't necessarily mean having to buy organic. You can grow your own. And it's cheaper than anything you'll find at the store (a $2 tomato seedling can produce 10 pounds of tomatoes over a season). Organic tomatoes at my local market are over $3 a pound.
Even if you've never done it before. Even if you think you don't have the time. Even if you don't have a yard. Even if you live in an apartment. We encourage you to do so, as the results are so gratifying: Cheap, healthy food; eating the fruits of your own labor; using fresh herbs in your cooking; the benefits of the vitamins and minerals added to your diet.
For all of you greenhorn gardeners, here are four tips for getting started.
- Pick a pot and a place. You don't need green acres or a plow to have a healthy harvest. You don't even need to have a yard. You can grow a wide variety of herbs, vegetables, and even fruits in containers (on your roof, fire escape, patio, or windowsill). R.J. Ruppenthal, author of Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting, even has tips for using closets and empty bathtubs. Your only limitation is your imagination.
- Start simple. Ensure immediate success by beginning with surefire winners like herbs, sprouts and lettuce. Take it up a tiny notch by growing a pizza garden (basil, oregano, cherry tomatoes) or a salsa garden (cilantro, onion, tomatoes, peppers). There are specific varieties of vegetables and fruits that fare best in containers. You can find a list of them and the specific size of container they need at Garden Guides.
- Enjoy the experiment. Gardening is all about experimentation and even the most adept grower sometimes has a failed crop. It doesn't mean you have a brown thumb. Keep a journal of your successes and failures (including details like type of container, type of soil, lighting conditions, watering schedule, etc), so you won't make the same mistake twice.
- Get some help. Pick up some books from your library, like Organic Crops in Pots by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell. Join the growing community of home gardeners by visiting websites like Gardenaut. Call your local extension services with questions (for some immediate troubleshooting tips visit Texas University Extension Services).
OK, here's the biggest challenge: After being used to a diet high it fat, salt and sugar, it may be difficult to make changes. Maybe it wouldn't be so difficult if the vegetables actually tasted like they're supposed to, flavorful and delicious.
You don't get this from anything in a can. Canned foods have generally been cooked to the point that they have no flavor, so copius amounts of salt and/or sugar are added to make them palitable.
Once you taste your own homegrown organic produce, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about. So, go for it. We encourage you to grow your own.
Who knows, maybe you'll also pass on the added salt, fat and sugar also (your body will thank you).
Note from Raster Master: If you decide to buy organic (instead of growing it), click here for some excellent tips.
:: Source: [Healthy Child, Healthy World, Los Angeles, CA, USA]
:: Image Credit: [Don Cook, Don's Digital Cafe, San Diego, CA, USA]
:: Innovation: The best food for you on this (or any other) planet.
:: Available: Now.
:: Cost: $Priceless.