Tips for growing herbs and veggies at home
(Family Features) - All over the country, people are taking the time to enjoy the simple pleasures of growing their own vegetables and herbs. From small container gardens and raised beds, to community-based home farms where people grow food with neighbors, the idea of home-grown goodness has taken root. In fact, a recent survey from Triscuit* found that more than 60 percent of Americans say they are interested in growing fruits, vegetables, and/or herbs in a backyard garden and 44 percent have grown some of their own food in the past year.
If you haven't started digging in to the trend, it's not too late. "The Gardener Guy," Paul James, has teamed up with Triscuit to celebrate the "Home Farming" movement, which encourages the simple joy of growing fresh herbs and vegetables on home farms and community-based home farms. James has shared some helpful tips to get you started.
Home Farming 101 - How-to's for beginners
- Where to plant - Vegetables and herbs can be grown in practically any container, which should have a hole in the bottom so it can drain.
- Nourish your garden -Make sure plants get at least five to six hours of sun a day and feed them every couple of weeks with a balanced fertilizer.
- Water, water, water - Water plants every few days and increase to every day in the summer. Saturate the top half inch of soil so seeds can absorb moisture to germinate.
- Give them space - All plants need sufficient room to get an adequate supply of water and nutrients. Be sure to read spacing requirements on the back of seed packets or plant tags before planting.
James says, "The number one rule is to start small. Whether it is growing herbs on your windowsill or vegetables in your backyard, anyone can start a home farm. As you gain confidence and knowledge you can always expand."
Green Thumb Academy - Helpful tips for the advanced home farmer
- Secret is in the soil - Good soil can help plants grow. A great recipe for container plants is to mix 75 percent sterilized potting mix with 25 percent bagged compost. Mushroom compost is ideal.
- Organic matter matters - Organic matter can improve soil, and includes compost, leaves, grass clippings, hay and straw. At least once a year, add organic matter to the top six inches of soil.
- Block party - When you plant in blocks, there are no paths between plants for weeds to grow, or wasted space.
If you don't have space for your own home farm, consider volunteering at a community-based home farm. Triscuit and the non-profit organization Urban Farming are collaborating to create 50 community-based home farms in cities across the country in 2010.
For more tips from Paul James, tools for starting your own home farm, and details about community-based home farms across the country where you can volunteer, visit www.triscuit.com/homefarming.
* The Triscuit Home Farming Study, fielded by StrategyOne, is a national telephone survey among a representative sample of 1,018 U.S. adults conducted January 14, 2009 and January 17, 2009. Margin of error on total results (N=1,018) ±3.1%.