Gardening Made Easy
Grow Your Own Food & Save Money
Have you noticed the rising prices of certain groceries recently? Or maybe you’ve noticed some vegetables missing from the produce section? We’ve seen this on occasion when shopping here in Longmont, but we’ve also heard of these shortages and price increases all across the nation. This got us thinking: How can we mitigate food costs and still enjoy the variety of cuisine we’re accustomed to?
The answer: grow our own food.
This may seem like a daunting task. In reality, most of the work is done up front. Establishing growing beds or a greenhouse, planting seeds or starts, and training yourself in new daily habits are really the most time consuming aspects of starting a garden. Once everything is set up, all you have to do is remember to water, harvest, and eat!
Here are some Wise Tips and other things to consider when you’re setting up your garden:
Best Plants To Grow
A lot of people think it’s hard to grow vegetables in Colorado. The hardest thing about the Colorado climate is the lack of consistent rainfall. With the copious amount of sunlight we get, a lot of plants grow really well with adequate water. Here’s a list of some of the best veggies to grow in Colorado:
- Swiss Chard
- Squash & Zucchini
Wise Growing Tips
Getting big, beautiful veggie plants takes a lot of care in Colorado. The biggest thing to focus on is watering. Install a drip system with a drip at every plant and you should be able to keep the soil moist enough for flourishing, vibrant, and delicious vegetables. Make sure to water at night or first thing in the morning, before the sun comes up.
Something else to consider is where you’re putting your vegetable garden. To help your plants avoid baking in the late summer heat, try and place your garden beds where your plants get afternoon shade. It may be prudent to build an awning with a mesh roof to help diminish sunlight from 3pm-6pm, when temperatures soar.
Another Wise Tip is to grow vegetables with their friends. Sometimes certain veggies help revitalize the soil as they grow. They may also attract or repel certain insects that help or harm your plants. Some famous veggie friends to grow together include:
- Corn with climbing beans, cucumbers, sunflowers, squashes, & zucchinis
- Tomatoes with asparagus, marigolds, onions, and basil
- Squashes with beans, dill, nasturtiums (edible), peas, and radishes
- Carrots with peas, tomatoes, corn, and lettuce
Beware, though, of certain veggies that really do not pair well, like corn and tomatoes. They end up fighting each other for space and nutrients and can attract pests that harm your crops.
Grow Food Indoors
The summer heat can be extremely difficult to grow vegetables, especially when Colorado is in a drought. To avoid this you can grow your plants indoors, either in a greenhouse or inside your home! Greenhouses help maintain humidity and heat while minimizing water loss to the outdoors. Growing in a greenhouse is a little bit easier than growing inside your home, but requires quite a bit more set-up. The yield, however, is amazing from greenhouses, and can sometimes continue growing veggies throughout the winter.
To grow inside your house, you’ll need southern facing windows and/or grow lights. Do a little research to see what method of indoor growing will work best for your home. You can find kits on Amazon or at your local Walmart or Target. Some growing kits utilize hydroponics, a method of growing food that doesn’t require soil and are great if you don’t want to have to water daily.
Are you an avid gardener? Share some of your favorite tips and tricks with the community! The more home gardens we have in Longmont, the healthier, wealthier, and happier we’ll all be. Comment below.