Going Green By Growing Green

In the never-ending quest to find the best food possible–healthy for both people and planet–it seems like there’s a pitfall around every corner. Farmers’ market or supermarket? Buy organic, or not? Is buying local always better? What if the farmers bringing food to the market use unsustainable practices, or dump loads of herbicides and pesticides on their crops? What if they have driven a hundred miles to bring those fat bell peppers to the stall?

Of course, you can always do research, or ask the vendors questions. Some markets have standards in place governing vendors’ growing practices or limiting the distance they can drive to bring their wares to the table.

But with spring on the way, there is another option–grow your own!

Whether you have an acre, a side yard, a tiny patch, or a balcony, you can take advantage of the summer sun and grow a few veggies. You can’t get any more local than that, and you will have full control of the way your plants are raised.

If you are limited to a porch, windowsill, or balcony–or if you just want to keep things simple–give container gardening a try. The book You Grow Girl by Gayla Trail has some neat container gardening tips, as well as pointers for larger gardens.

If you have a small yard, this site has gorgeous, amazing plans for 3′ x 6′ vegetable gardens, and includes both pre-planned gardens focused on various goals (“Salad Bar,” “Salsa & Tomato Sauce,” “Plant It & Forget It”) and a widget that you can use to plan your own patch.

If you have a lot of space and want to go hard-core, try building a Lasagna Garden. (The author also wrote a book on Lasagna Gardening in containers or small spaces!)

The most important thing is to grow what you want to grow. Keep things as simple as you can or go all out and try the newest wacky trend–make your garden your own, and tending it will feel more like an adventure than a chore. My friend Evil Ducky is supplementing the harvest she gets from a local CSA with a few tomato plants in pots on her back porch and her very own shiitake colony. I plan to plant tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and zucchini in an 18′ x 14′ plot in the backyard. And–possibly my favorite quirky garden of all time–someone down the street fills his entire side yard with corn every year, right in the middle of the city.

Whether you plant an acre of crops or a yogurt cup of basil seeds in the kitchen windowsill, consider growing a little green this year!

An original 5 Minutes for Going Green post. On most days you can find Velocibadgergirl at Pardon the Egg Salad, where she blogs about travel, her spoiled pets, science geekery, and whatever else comes to mind. She’ll be chronicling her second-year gardening adventures at Pardon the Garden, and admits that she hates weeding and is mostly making it up as she goes along.


And remember all of our Earth Week giveaways are open until Sunday, May 3rd at 7pm EST, and all you have to do to enter is┬ácomment on the giveaway post(s) with a valid email address; if you haven’t entered yet, what are you waiting for?

4 Responses to Going Green By Growing Green
  1. Yanic A.
    April 30, 2009 | 5:47 am

    We were so excited about our 360 sq.ft. of community garden this year! Our plan is to become more and more self-sustaining over the next few years.
    farmer’s markets are great ways to get well grown roganic foods. You also get the chance to meet the people that grow your veggies and fruits.

    • Smart Pots
      March 15, 2011 | 4:07 pm

      I like this article because it encourages people to go out and do something! Gardening does not have to be hard or strenuous. If you only take on what you can do it’ll be a very fun, enjoyable experience and nothing is more rewarding than eating what you grew yourself.

  2. Ladybugcda
    April 30, 2009 | 2:46 pm

    Ladybugs are good for some pest control!

    If you soak in Epsom Salts you can pour the water in your garden:)

    Help seeds germinate
    Makes plants grow bushier
    Produce more flowers
    Increase chlorophyll production
    Improve phosphorus and nitrogen uptake

    Good-bye, gotta fly!
    PS I’m also Twitter’s @toothfairycyber
    I recycle baby teeth by grinding them into fine *Fairy Dust* (:

  3. The Tomato Stake
    April 30, 2009 | 4:40 pm

    The best way to support your tomato plants is with The Tomato Stake.


    Easier to use than metal cages or upside down planters, stronger than bamboo and won’t rot like wood stakes. The built-in twist-tie supports make tying your tomato plants easy!