If I am like most people, I just cringe when a new food recall is released. I am beginning to think that there is no safe food left to eat. The fear of e.coli from eating produce purchased at grocery stores is enough to frighten anyone away from the dinner table.
The recent food scares have prompted many to revisit an idea of an old… backyard garden. With farmland being bought out by developers seeking to erect the latest and greatest subdivision, acreage is at a premium. Couple that trend with the astronomical rise in real estate prices and you can pretty much guarantee that most people can barely afford a home, let alone any amount of land to cultivate their own food. But do you really need a lot of acreages to plant your own garden? The answer may surprise you.
Many city dwellers with 1/3 acre lots and smaller are making do with less than the normal amount of land one might think they need to have a successful garden. Having a garden in such a small place does require one to think outside of the box. A quick search on some websites reveals many interesting ideas to help make space for a garden in your backyard.
One inventive idea involved planting lettuce in an old wagon. The wheels left it mobile enough to move to a shady or sunny spot, let alone move it out of the way when you need extra space in your backyard.
If you aren’t into tilling your own land with a rototiller, you can opt to plant your garden in large steel buckets instead. If you are ambitious enough to be a little more decorative, you can plant vegetables in decorative pots and place them strategically around your yard.
For those wanting homegrown vegetables without too much work, check out the Kitchen Counter Herb Garden. Everything you need to grow your own herbs is provided, though the unit is a bit pricey at about $150.00. The unit comes with seeds to grow dill, chives, cilantro, oregano, spearmint, and two varieties of basil.
You can order different seed pod sets as needed once you cultivate the current harvest. The unit itself is very high-tech, with a microprocessor monitoring growth and making the necessary adjustments with regard to light and nutrients. This is one smart garden unit!
Good planning and a green thumb will also take a bite out of your grocery budget. Planting your own food can lead to substantial savings. A packet of seeds is very inexpensive, yet can lead to several mature vegetables that make their way to your dinner table. The idea of planting a garden in small spaces is not a new one, just an old one with updated technology.
During World War II, 20 Million Americans planted Victory Gardens to take the strain off the food supply problems facing the country. Canned foods were scarce because they were needed to supply the troops. Victory Gardens helped Americans feel like they were contributing to the war effort, growing their own vegetables for consumption and leaving the canned goods for the troops fighting the War.
So don’t let the small size of your lot deter you from planting a garden. There are many unique ideas floating out on the Internet that can make your available space viable.
Vegetables that Grow in Shade
Is your house surrounded by tall trees that block much of the day’s sunlight? This is great in the summer when we want to keep our house cool. However, it’s not so good when we want to grow plants in our backyard.
I did some research and found out we can grow vegetables in our shady backyard. The following vegetables will grow in the dappled light from our trees. With only 3 to 6 hours of sunlight each day, we can grow delicious vegetables.
Lettuce does well in a shaded vegetable garden. As long as this leafy vegetable receives some sunlight, it will produce nutritious food for your family. Grow some lettuce in your shade vegetable garden and purchase tomatoes and carrots from your local farmer’s market for a healthy salad.
I was very excited to learn I can grow broccoli in the shade. Broccoli is one of my favorite vegetables. It’s a healthy vegetable my family can eat raw or steamed. My toddler is also a big fan of these mini trees. Fresh, raw broccoli is another tasty addition to the salad.
Another shade-loving vegetable is cauliflower. Like broccoli, cauliflower can be eaten raw with a healthy vegetable dip or steamed. We like to steam and mash our cauliflower as a substitute for mashed potatoes.
Chard will grow in a shade vegetable garden as well. I recently read about chard in a magazine. I had never heard of this vegetable before, but I am eager to try it this year. You can cook the leaves as you would prepare spinach and you can eat the stalks as you would eat asparagus. I am excited to try growing chard this year.
Onions can grow in partial shade. Onions can be used to season soups and steaks or they can be grilled and eaten on their own. You can plant onions with a strong flavor of sweet onions. Growing onions in your shade vegetable garden can help round out your selection.
All right. You’ve got me. Parsley isn’t a vegetable. However, this herb can grow in partial shade and can be a flavorful addition to your shade vegetable garden. It’s always nice to have some fresh herbs on hand.
Don’t be discouraged if you have a shady yard. You can still grow healthy vegetables. By growing what you can in your shade vegetable garden and buying the rest of your vegetables from a reputable farmer’s market, you will provide your family with nutritious and natural meals all season long.