I love being able to talk to the people who grow the food...I can learn about their process (they love food as much as I do), and I can ensure that my family is getting the best quality produce. And I'm doing what I can to support the local economy. It's also nice to know that what we will be eating was picked at its peak and just days prior to consumption, as opposed to grocery store produce. (Grocery store produce is picked early and forced to ripen during or after shipping, which results in less taste and fewer nutrients. And the produce is shipped, on average, 1500 miles just to get to your plate, consuming a large amount of fossil fuels...)
Ok, I'm stepping down off the soapbox now! :)
Anyway, I plan to still shop at the farmers' markets this summer, but I have also planned to grow quite a bit of the food for our household. Since we've lived here, I've grown a few things, but never enough to really have a freezer or canned stock.
Two summers ago, before I found out I was pregnant, I constructed 4 raised garden beds from salvaged decking materials. (I thought the build was so exhausting because I was out of shape...I found out a few weeks later that I was pregnant!) Anyway, because I was so tired for the first few months of my pregnancy, I didn't make any progress with the gardens. Then, last year, having a newborn and a full time job made it difficult to get out and do any serious gardening. I planted a few things, and ended up with a HUGE zucchini plant. And all-in-all, the outcome was good. This year, I hope to do things a little differently.
I have 64 square feet of garden space in those nifty raised beds, and with the help of SmartGardener, I've planned a well-rounded garden full of produce that can either be canned or frozen (with the exception of a few things which will need to be eaten fresh, like salad greens). I just hope I can keep up with it!
Here's what I've got planned:
- roma tomatoes
- green beans
- lettuce mix
- bell peppers
- serrano peppers
- cayenne peppers
- snow peas
- snap peas
- green onions
- spanish onions
I'll also be growing some herbs like basil and cilantro in pots.
My hope is that, with SmartGardener's weekly to do list and email reminders, I'll be able to maintain a garden full of delicious produce to feed this little family. I'll get the items we eat less frequently, like cucumbers, at the market. And we have a huge stock of both winter and summer squash in the freezer from last summer, so I don't need to grow any of those!
I'm excited to get started in a few weeks, and I hope to keep you updated on the process (both successes and failures)! And hopefully, I can inspire each of you to grow a food item or two...
What would you like to try growing?