Organic Gardening: From Seed to Table in Your Backyard

| 2/28/2013 2:37:00 PM

Gardening is an activity that has spanned countless generations. From the first peoples, who observed that discarded seeds became spring shoots for their nourishment, to those of us who delight in gardening wherever we can cultivate—rooftops, planters or backyards—we find a way to experience the joy of gardening.

basket of garden vegetables
Photo By Diana Taliun/Fotolia

My paternal grandmother, whom we called ‘Dee’, was an incredible organic gardener. She had green thumbs and read the farmers almanac faithfully. Truth be told, I think she had some of her own magic incantations she must have mumbled and sung as she planted her garden each year. I remember being awed by this prodigious realm of climbing beans, tomatoes sprawling everywhere, flowers of every color, tall stalks of corn, winding shoots of cucumbers and crook-neck squash, crowning onions and so much more filling tiered spaces in the backyard of her home in Concord, North Carolina. Steamy summers with air so thick you could swim in it, full of all manner of flying creatures—in this southern jungle, Dee cultivated extraordinary fruits and vegetables that became delectable squash casseroles, apple pies, stewed tomatoes and pickled relishes that I dare say I still crave.

Today more than 12 million Americans enjoy growing gardens using only all-natural fertilizers and insect and weed control and our numbers continue to grow. Organic gardening is good for us and all the creatures that make their living in our backyards.

As we approach the growing season, the question is what to plant? As I am a novice, I have gathered some helpful hints that might assist you and me in making innovative and tasty choices for our fruit and vegetable gardens. 

Planning Your Garden

According to Organic Lifestyle magazine there are three basics to getting the most from choosing where to plant your garden: sun, water and access. Plants need at least six hours of sun per day with many types needing more. Observe the areas you are thinking of planting and work out which spots receive the most sun and where your shade is. Make sure you have easy access to water and navigation of your plots. Our household placed our garden along a fence in the backyard, taking advantage of full sun for our tomatoes, peppers and eggplants and shade from a nearby tree for growing mixed salad greens all summer!

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