Looking for something rewarding to do this summer?
Gardening is a great way to enjoy the outdoors, get active, and grow your own food.
Never planted a seed before? It’s okay—you don’t need to have a green thumb to grow a garden.
A successful garden needs sun, water, and soil. Plant your garden in a spot that will get six or more hours of sun each day.
Plants also need regular watering. Water your garden less on rainy days and more on hot, sunny ones.
And lastly, vegetables need to be planted in rich soil where their roots can take in nutrients.
For the individual in a small space, try plants that thrive in pots or window sills, grow tall rather than wide, and any extras can be frozen or canned after the season is done.
These include tomatoes, herbs (garlic, thyme, parsley, oregano, or sage), pole beans, and peppers.
Potted plants need more frequent watering than ground plants because they can’t hold as much water at a time.
For the busy grower, start with buying potted plants that can be moved outside into the garden once the risk of frost is over.
Try vegetables that don’t need as much care, like onions, shallots, radishes, Swiss chard, and carrots.
Sharing a garden with a friend or neighbour also means splitting the work.
For the budget-conscious, get fresh food all summer by choosing vegetables that have more than one harvest, such as peas, cucumbers, zucchini, broccoli, and squash.
You also can try perennial vegetables that reproduce from year-to-year, like asparagus, mushrooms, and rhubarb.
Stretch your dollar by re-planting the seeds from your favourite produce.
For example, you can plant an old potato that has grown a few eyes—it will sprout and yield more potatoes.
Challenge yourself this summer to eat five-10 servings of vegetables and fruits every day.
Any extra or leftover vegetables can be shared with a neighbour, co-worker, or friend, or donated to your local shelter, food bank, or food box program.
Looking for more information? Connect with your Northwestern Health Unit office to find out about local food programs, such as community gardens, food boxes, and community kitchens.