It’s Your Year to Grow Veggies
As many of us are gearing up for the gardening season (be patient, only a few more weeks), some are thinking about starting a vegetable garden. Whether you’ve been thinking about it for a while or the idea just came to mind, I’m here to provide you with a little more incentive to get out and grow some veggies.
I recently read an article that looked at the effects that gardening had on a group of community gardeners in Utah. The researchers determined that those who worked in a community garden had lower BMIs (body mass indexes) than those who did not, which translated to approximately 11 lbs for women and 16 pounds for men. These gardeners were also less likely to be obese: 46% less for women and 62% less for men.
Interesting findings, but not really surprising. Gardening, whether in a community garden or in your backyard, is physically demanding. Everything from soil prep to weeding to harvesting requires an effort on your part. Think about the benefits though: more exercise, fresh food, general satisfaction. You can’t get that from many other activities.
It’s not that difficult, really. Here are the basics:
Location: most veggies do best in full sun or at least 6 hours of sun a day.
Soil: quality triple mix to start. You can work it into the top 12 inches for a fluffy “chocolate cake” consistency or you can order enough to build up the area.
Plants : if you’re just thinking about starting now, chances are you didn’t start any seeds indoors. No worries! Every garden centre in Canada will have young veggies ready to take home and plant. Choose healthy ones that have been watered well. Look for dark foliage that doesn’t droop and always inspect for insects. Pick these up mid to late May and keep them outdoors during the day to harden them off before planting them in your prepared garden – around the May 2-4 weekend.
Fertilize: some veggies are heavy feeders (tomatoes and peppers come to mind); herbs do not like fertilizer. Read the labels on your plants. Buy the right fertilizer for the job and follow the instructions on the package.
Water: this is a must, especially as we wade into the hot, dry summer months. Water deeply for optimal root growth.
And there you have it! See, it’s not that hard! By the end of the summer, your friends and family will be thanking you for sharing.