Have you ever wanted to grow your own food in the garden? Perhaps you are already growing plants and wildflowers on a regular basis, but you now want a self-sustainable way of putting vegetables on the table. Many would probably consider paying top dollar at the local nursery for seedlings that they transplant to their own soil.
However, have you considered growing your own food from seed? If you intend on becoming a self-sufficient small-scale gardener, it is time you start planting seeds in your soil. You do not realize it now because it might sound like too much work, but you will feel great about your accomplishment.
More importantly, you will feel good knowing that you can feed yourself because you have just learned a life-affirming skill. Stick around for a while and learn the benefits of growing your food from seed as well as the top five easy to grow vegetable, salad and fruit seeds for beginners.
Benefits of Growing Your Own Food
A Money-Saving Prospect
Apart from mortgage or rent and car insurance or payments, food bills are the biggest expenses for any household throughout the year. It would be truly breathtaking to find a way of slashing the bills, so they are not as costly and financially draining.
A look around at your local supermarket will reveal that food prices are rising astronomically, and they seem to be getting higher with each passing day. In fact, most fresh fruit is expected to rise by 1.7 percent in cost, while vegetables are expected to increase by not more than 0.5 percent. Apart from buying in bulk and freezing your food, there is a better way to get a constant supply of fresh food – growing your own!
Another option is to buy cheaper food, but that is not recommended due to the risks associated with only eating cheap stuff. The best alternative is to grow your own from seed. You can plant vegetables and fruits in your garden, tend them as you watch them thrive.
In the end, you will save plenty of money. Plus, you don’t have to sacrifice your family’s health in an effort save a few dollars. On the contrary, you are eating healthier, cleaner and more nutritious vegetables and fruits.
A Constant Supply of Life-Affirming, Healthy Vegetables and Fruit
Growing your own food is a great chance to eat only the healthiest of vegetables and fruits. All you need to do is properly tend your garden soil, so it offers you veggies and fruits with the highest amount of minerals and vitamins. In addition, these foods are the foundation of a healthy diet.
Growing your own food means that there is little chance of you and your family encountering unhealthy fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides – as long as you do it naturally. In addition, you will also avoid genetically modified food items on your table. Gardening this way will produce a healthy crop that is good for you and tasty.
Control Your Crop
Growing your own produce from seeds lets you control what eventually ends up on your plate. You have the freedom of choosing what pest control method to use and what potting soil, water and fertilizer would work best for your garden. You can also grow your entire crop organically by avoiding expensive and unhealthy chemicals.
Make Your Yard Attractive
A veggie and fruit garden help to add color, life, and beauty to a backyard that would otherwise stay dull and boring. The sight of ripe tomatoes and smell of strawberries are a warm invitation for people and pollinators. Plants like fruit trees, peas and beans have beautiful flowers that encourage pollination.
Make it a Hobby
Gardening is a fun activity that every member of your family can participate in. In fact, your kids can get their hands dirty as they learn more about where their food comes from. From the initial step of planting seedlings to putting together salads, a vegetable garden is a great way of getting entire families off the couch and on their feet.
Make the ‘Fresh is Best’ Lifestyle a Reality
Nothing tastes better than a picking of nutrient-packed, fresh picked vegetables and fruits. When harvested, produce tends to lose moisture and nutrients, and the freshness of the vegetables at the grocery store is beyond your control. However, once you pick your own produce, you know exactly what you are picking and how fresh it is.
A Dose of Vitamin D
Gardening offers you one critical nutrient, even before you have had a bite of your produce – vitamin D. Sun rays help in the production of vitamin D, which is a critical nutrient for any human being. Working on your backyard garden for half an hour every day promotes positive energy and better sleep – just do not forget your sunscreen.
Related reading: The Old Technique Of Planting By The Signs
Top 5 Easiest Vegetables to Grow
Now that you have had a chance to see all the benefits you are likely to reap from growing your own food from seeds, here are five easy vegetables to grow if you live in zones 3 to 7. If you do not have a backyard garden, you can also plant your vegetables in containers and raised beds too. However, make sure that you are using certified seeds like Seed Needs.
One of the easiest vegetables to grow, and your kids will love taking care of them, are peas because they grow quickly. You can plant them when the ground is ready to be worked on, and in raised beds, so the seeds do not sit in water as snow melts. Once the ground hits 45 degrees, the peas start germinating with peas emerging in two to four weeks.
In case the crop does not mature due to cool temperatures, you can add the shoots to stir-fries or steam them as a vegetable. You can plant snow peas, snap peas or the traditional shelling peas. As long as you keep vines well picked, you should see a harvest in three to four weeks.
Plant lettuce thickly on a raised bed and go back again for salad greens, an expensive mix you will find usually sold in plastic clamshells at grocery stores. Fortunately, you do not need much space when planting lettuce like this. You can expect at least three cuttings of lettuce crop before you have to take it out and replant.
Prepare your raised bed garden by removing weeds and amend the soil with finished compost. Sprinkle different varieties of green and red lettuce, kale as well as other baby greens depending on your zone. At three inches, your lettuce should be ready for transplanting before your first cutting.
You can harvest this hardy vegetable repeatedly from a single planting. It is best to plant your chard seed three weeks before the last expected frost date in rows that are 2 inches apart and about half an inch deep. In 40 to 90 degree Fahrenheit soil temperatures, chard takes five to seven days to germinate.
Harvest your chard by removing the outer most leaves. You will notice that fresh leaves continue growing throughout the growing season until killing frost kills them. In case your leaves are too tough, consider renewing the plant by removing all the leaves at four inches above the ground for tender, soft leaves.
Carrots are another easy vegetable to grow once you manage to achieve good germination. The best way to do this is by keeping seeds moist for a few days before planting. You can plant your carrots at any time after peas have emerged and soil temperatures are at least 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
Carrots do well in zone 3 since they are not stunted by the low temperatures and are capable of withstanding light frost. Carrots take about 75 to 95 days to mature depending on the variety you’ve planted. In zone 3, you can plant them in late August or early September just before the ground freezes.
In time, I’ve learned that kale is another cut and come again vegetable with tender baby greens or it can be allowed to mature for harvesting. Kale should be planted at least three weeks before the last frost day and while soils are at 45 degrees. Seed germination takes about four to seven days.
For mature leaf growth, plant kale 1-inch apart in rows at least 18 inches apart and thin the plant to 12 to 18 inches apart to achieve optimal growth. If you want baby leaf, plant the kale at least 1-inch apart and harvest two to three times before replanting using fresh seed. Harvest the leaves individually during growing season starting from the bottom of the plant.
You Can Do It
People assume that growing their own food from seed is so hard that they don’t even want to give it a go. While there is a definite learning curve, it is possible to do it.
Even better, growing your own food is a richly rewarding project that you’ll reap the benefits from for quite a while. So, try it and enjoy a bountiful harvest from your backyard garden in the future!