Spring is in the air! Or at least that's what the calendar is telling me. Perhaps this year, you're trying to reduce trips to the grocery story or farmer's market and considering planting a garden of your own. Planting and maintaining a garden can be easy and rewarding. Even the Obama White House has been in the news this week that they will be converting a 1100 square foot area of the White House lawn into a vegetable garden.
Don't have a yard? Plant a small garden in a container in a sunny window or outdoor deck! There are also local pea-patches or victory gardens that are available for lease during the growing season. More sites are popping up online like Urban Land Army and Urban Garden Share (www.urbanlandarmy.com and www.urbangardenshare.org )that match people with land to share with people looking to garden. There are several consulting organizations like Seattle Urban Farm www.seattleurbanfarmco.com that will consult and plan a new garden space and even will do the work for you for a nominal fee! Keep in mind that you don't have to spend a lot of money on a garden. A pack of seeds costs between $1.50 to $3.00 and a bag of soil about $5.00.
Choose seeds that grow well in your region. Seattle has a short growing season. Green peppers, watermelon and some varieties of tomatoes don't grow well in Seattle because we don't get as many "hot days" as some areas of the country. When possible, purchase heirloom or rare varieties of seeds from local nurseries. Local nurseries can also advise you to what seeds to purchase that will grow well in your garden area. Want more bang for your buck? - Split the seeds with a couple of friends or do a plant exchange once you've got some plants growing.
Containers? The sky is the limit! I'm using a plastic deli sandwich container with a clear lid. The lid is nice because it keeps in the moisture so you don't have to water your seeds as often. Even cutting the bottom out of a two liter soda bottle or milk carton will work (plus you can recycle them at a later date). Beans, peas, and lettuce are really easy to grow and don't have to be started indoors. Don't want all the hassle of planting seeds? Purchase mature plants from your local nursery. You'll be impressed what your little garden will produce.