If 2013 is the year you plan to start a vegetable garden, welcome to the club! Since the economy stumbled in 2008, more Americans have started growing some of their own food and enjoying the delicious taste and health benefits of fresh tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers and leafy greens. The number of vegetable gardens in the U.S. rose from 31 million to 43 million between 2008 and 2009, that’s more than one-third of American households.
The reasons for raising vegetables are many: It can save money (sometimes a lot!), the food tastes wonderful and, if you grow without chemical fertilizers and herbicides, it is much safer to eat than some commercially grown food. Beyond that, growing a vegetable garden is a relaxing hobby and does not require expensive equipment (be careful if people tell you it does!) or a massive time commitment. Children also enjoy being in the garden, and many home gardeners come to relish those early morning or evening moments tending their garden.
You’ll be surprised how much food you can grow, too. Even a small garden (the average plot in the U.S. is less than 100 square feet) can produce lots of food to eat. Remember: In the 1940s, U.S. residents grew 40 percent of the nation’s food needs in home gardens.
With this series, we hope to provide northern gardeners the information they need to grow a great vegetable garden in 2013. We’ll discuss where to put the garden, what to grow, how to start plants from seed, planting, dealing with pests, harvesting and preserving the harvest. Along the way, we hope readers will leave comments and questions below. We’ll do our best to answer them. Tomorrow we get started with a discussion of where to put your vegetable garden. Stay tuned.
Follow Notes from Northern Gardener throughout January as we offer our series on 31 Days to a Great Northern Vegetable Garden. Tomorrow: Where to Put Your Vegetable Garden.