Jackie’s garden primer

The birds are singing. The sunshine makes the day feel soft and warm. The soil is mellow and damp. It makes us feel like being outdoors and doing something. How about growing a garden this year?

My son, David, helps build raised garden beds out of railroad ties.Even if you have never so much as planted a potted flower, I guarantee that with a little enjoyable work, you can raise scrumptious food, right at home.

Or maybe you’ve gardened in the past, and life has kind of swept you along and you’re afraid you’ve forgotten how to garden successfully. Not to worry; I’ll give you a hand and we’ll get that garden planted.

Is it hard? Not a bit. Is it a lot of work? You do have to work at it, but it’s the kind of work that’s satisfying and really fun. There aren’t many things as enjoyable as the excitement of seeing your very first red, ripe tomato on the vine or your first bean plants popping up out of the soil.

Is it complicated? You know: mulch, compost, pH, organic, chemicals, biologic insect controls? No. It isn’t a bit complicated. As you progress, you may want to expand your gardening skills for an even more productive garden. But gardening definitely is not complicated.

Well, isn’t it expensive then? Again, no. Like anything else, you can spend a lot of money gardening. But you don’t have to. In the old days, folks grew tons of food by saving their own seed from year to year, trading seeds with neighbors, and occasionally buying a few packets of seed to grow other crops they didn’t have seed for. In fact, by growing even a modest home garden, you can save up to one third of your grocery bill each week all summer and fall, and even more if you home can your extra vegetables.

Some people think that they need a huge garden to help feed their family. Not so. By gardening wisely, planting crops they usually buy—and are expensive, a modest garden will provide a huge amount of food.

With the economy now in a tailspin, I strongly encourage everyone to give gardening a try. By tilling or spading up a plot of lawn in an urban back (or front) yard, you can soon have an attractive, productive food factory.

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