Are you trying to switch to a healthier lifestyle, but shocked at the cost of organic vegetables and herbs? Even though you may not live on an acre of land, you still can easily start growing some of your own food in a container garden. Anyone who’s ever picked a vine ripened tomato and popped it into their mouth, or had a salad made with greens and herbs harvested 30 minutes prior to eating it very much appreciates the incredible freshness and superior taste of home grown produce. And here’s a bonus: No chemicals or preservatives. Trust me when I say that I am the least grow your own garden type of guy out there, but even I've been able to get some vegetables growing. Whether you have an small apartment patio or even a back yard that you don't want to rip up to create an in-ground garden, fresh and easily grown produce can easily be done in a pot. That pot can be on the patio, the front porch, the balcony, even hanging from a tree or like me scattered around the back yard Even if you are ‘sun challenged’, you can still grow vegetables and herbs. The trick is proper placement of your pots as the direction of the sun changes throughout the season. If you are really challenged you can rotate your pots every few day. In the location of your home that gets the most sun, plant your tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. Stick with compact bush type tomatoes. There are now a large array of cherry, patio, and ‘grape’ style tomatoes on the market. They are prolific and contained. Jalapenos are well suited to pot growing if staked. (Most home improvement big box retail stores will offer a variety of inexpensive basic green stakes well suited to pots). While herbs are traditionally need lots of sun, there are some you can get away with partial sun of balconies and hanging pots like chives, basil, cilantro, oregano, and parsley. These are all very basic cooking herbs and so easy to snip as needed. Snipping them is actually good for them, producing more growth throughout the season. Even though Spring is traditionally the time to plant and grow cool weather crops, in particular lettuce, in a less sunny spot ‘cut and come again’ varieties like Black Seeded Simpson do very well. Each week you’ll have a bowl of fresh salad if you rotate your pot and harvest the larger leaves. One thing that you will have to consider is your soil. It’s never about the plant, it’s always about the soil. If you have fertile soil, you will have strong plants. The plant is temporary; the soil is stationary and needs to be turned and ‘re-booted‘ upon each planting. The plant derives is strength from the soil. Earthworms are present in well prepared in-ground beds. Guess what? They’re present in pots too, if the soil is aerated and rich in nutrients. If you mix in compost, blood and bone meal to your basic potting soil, you will have healthy plants. Don’t deny yourself the pleasures of real food, the joy of creating it yourself, and best of all, savings lots and lots of money. Paleo is only as far as the pot outside your front (or back) door. Here are some pictures of what we have in our back yard.
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