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Local Food Power - Grow Your Own!

Posted by Sharon Rosshirt on Monday, February 1st, 2016 at 9:48am.

 

Local Food Power – Grow Your Own

Stanberry is a locally owned company, and we understand the economic and environmental pluses of keeping your dollars local.  Food is a great example of that, and we are blessed with a great assortment of farmers markets and farm to table restaurants in our area that support local growers, keeping money in our immediate economy, requiring less use of petrochemicals for transit, and offering health benefits of being fresh and more nutrient dense than production farmed counterparts.

Because of our long growing season, folks here can easily raise some of our own food, which positively impacts our health and pocketbooks. If you have kids, they can be involved, and multiple studies show that kids who are exposed to home grown veggies are much more likely to eat and enjoy them! It’s just hard to get any more local than food grown in your own yard!

Raising vegetables doesn’t have to require a lot of space, using raised beds or containers you can pack quite a few veggie plants into a small space.  We are coming into spring planting season, so here are some ideas:

Evaluate your area

Do you have a place for planting beds, do you need to conserve space using raised beds, or do you need to stick to containers? We love The Natural Gardener (another local company!) for the components for raised beds and containers.  Make sure you allow room to work around the beds from all sides. You can find kits for “Square Foot Gardening“, which are great for people with small spaces to maximize production.

Evaluate your soil

You can get a soil test done at your county agricultural extension service or many local garden centers. You want soil that is crumbly, drains well, and has lots of organic matter in it.  If you don’t have good soil, because of the shallow, rocky, expansive clay soil, you can improve it with purchased blends, plenty of compost, or just build raised beds and fill them with soil.  Gardeners.com has innovative pre-made corners for raised beds that allow you to use any lumber you have and snap it together at corners.

Evaluate your plant choices

We are heading into early spring, and you can plant all kinds of greens right now; kale, spinach, chard, bok choy, lettuces, and others.  Early peas are great for this season, too.  Peas are great in smaller gardens because they can grow up a trellis, leaving space for other plants below.  We are on the cusp of being able to transplant eggplant, peppers, and tomatoes into gardens.  You can also consult a planting chart to know the best time to plant any time of the year!

We will throw in one more important thought that ties in with living local, and that is this: if you buy young veggie plants to transplant, you will have better results at a local nursery as opposed to a big box home improvement type store.  Local nurseries by local plants and put the right varieties for our climate on the shelves at the appropriate time to plant them.  If you buy at  a big box store, you really must do your homework so you don’t buy something “cool” or “pretty” that doesn’t thrive in our area.

So, be undaunted!  Go forth and raise fresh veggies for yourself, and feel very, very proud of your contributions to your health and the environment

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