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Backyard Gardens; the most local you can get!

Growing edible foods in your garden space is a wonderful and economical way to have fresh, local food. Of course, summertime is a common time of year to grow edible foods in your garden, but there are things you can grow year round.

We do an annual summer vegetable garden and it's always one of the delights of our year. It's so nice to go out at the end of the day and pick green beans, tomatoes, swiss chard and herbs to use for dinner. Here are some things we've learned along the way.

  • The flavor of any heirloom variety is superior by far to the hybrid versions
  • The flavor of any heirloom variety we grow at home is superior to heirloom varieties in supermarkets
  • Saving seeds from peppers and tomatoes is the best way to get the plants you want for next year
  • Shopping for starts (small plants) at big box stores typically is a disaster - mismarked, poor quality/selection of varieties, hothouse plants don't do as well when planted as seedlings we do ourselves
  • Companion planting is very important for appearance and optimum crop yield, health and flavor
  • Using peat pellets and heating pad are an excellent way to get your seeds started on time
  • Start seed at appropriate times

Depending on your garden and sun exposure, many vegetables and fruits are possible in a home garden. Select varieties according to what will grow most easily in your specific garden conditions. Here's a link to requirements for many vegetables.

If you have the space, fruit trees are an especially nice thing to have in your home garden. Eating seasonal fruits right off the tree is an amazing experience. If the tree produces large crops you'll have the good fortune to preserve by freezing, canning or drying the extra fruit. Alternatively you can give away or trade what is extra.

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