Spring is in the Air, It’s Garden Time — FINALLY! At HealthBarn USA we are all about sharing important information about living a healthy-lifestyle, so you too can bring these exciting concepts home to your family! This month we are all about planting HealthBarn USA’s organic vegetable garden because it’s cool to grow and cook your own food. Many parents are asking me how to get started and what they should plant. Here’s an outline to follow for an abundant summer harvest!
- Pick a sunny spot! Choose an area that gets a lot of direct sunlight throughout the day and has easy access to a water source. Veggies need at least six hours of direct sunlight!
- Compost. The soil is the key ingredient when it comes to healthy plants and healthy people, so use compost or an organic fertilizer. To compost, dig a hole in your yard in a sunny place, add fruit and vegetable scraps, grass clippings, tea, coffee grinds and egg shells daily, turn it using a shovel or pitch fork, and you’ll have healthy soil in no time! If you think you don’t have a green thumb, it’s probably the soil, so definitely get a soil test before starting!
Plant what you like to eat. Everyone always asks us, “What should I plant?” Start with what you eat! We begin by reviewing our favorite seasonal recipes loaded with veggies first and then, we take an inventory of our seeds to determine what we need to purchase for spring, summer and fall plantings.
- Plant from seed. You can plant these veggies directly into the ground now from seed: peas, green beans, kale, Swiss chard, carrots, turnips, parsnips, radishes (I love Daikon radishes) and a variety of lettuces. I plant zucchini, basil and cucumbers from seed in mid-May when the ground is warmer
- Plant from seedlings. Once we get past the frost (officially after Mother’s Day), you can plant these veggie seedlings: tomato varieties, bell peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts and eggplant.
- Buy seeds & seedlings. Purchasing high quality seeds is important for germination because there is nothing worse than planting seeds and watching nothing come up! We recommend organic seeds from Johnny’s Selected Seeds and heirloom seeds (and a variety of unique plants) from Seed Savers Exchange. For seedlings, it’s important to buy from reputable local nurseries (preferably one that grows their seedlings from seed) because it minimizes the risk of diseased plants.
- Garden gear. The essentials include a shovel (large and small), hoe, rake, gloves and a hat (for sun and heat protection). Make sure to get enough “stuff” at the right sizes, so the whole family can participate.
- Have fun! Remember, the garden doesn’t have to be perfect — just get started, enjoy getting dirty and being active with friends, family and neighbors!
What are your favorite vegetables to grow and cook?
– Stacey Antine, MS, RD, author, Appetite for Life, founder, HealthBarn USA, co-host, Family Food Expert Internet Radio Show, Director of Healing Meals and recognized as top 10 dietitians nationally by Today’s Dietitian magazine for her work with HealthBarn USA.