Letter: Grow your own (veggies I mean)


Posted by on Fri, March 20, 2009

I loved this story in the NY Times about the Obamas and their veggie garden: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/19/dining/19garden-web.html. Whether you are worried about health/weight, money, want a chance to get outdoors once in a while, or just want to eat the best food you have ever tasted, having a home vegetable garden is all that and more.

Even if you only have a window, you can grow lots and lots of wonderful things: most herbs grow year round here on the Coastside, quick growers like radishes grow even in the winter, and many veggies and fruits can be planted year round in our moderate climate.

If you’re not the outdoor type, remember the Coastside Farmers Market is opening the first Saturday in May, with lots of locally grown fruits and veggies. As well, many our local food purveyors buy locally grown, fresh and wonderful veggies and fruits to sell to you.

Buy local, buy fresh, and "grow your own."

Just a few thoughts on this… Going into the garden and picking something to go with a meal is a great feeling. If you choose the right veggie varieties (types that are adapted to a cool, marine climate like ours), as Terri says, you can have fresh vegetables and herbs year-round. To grow tomatoes here on the coast, look for extra-early tomato varieties, especially Eastern European varieties. Plant them in raised beds in a protected area (like on the south side of your house). They won’t be ready in July, but they’ll ripen during the fall heat wave and will keep going until the first frost—usually December or January. I let a few tomatoes drop on the ground and have tomato “volunteers” every year that are well-adapted to our climate. The harvest starts in September and goes until January.

We can grow wonderful greens here, like lettuce, kale, chard, cabbage. I’ve planted kale and chard and let it go to seed, and now have naturalized kale and chard all over the garden. Obviously artichokes do well, and certain types of squash. Just don’t try to grow heat-loving things like melons and eggplants, and you’ll be fine. ;)

Don’t forget the compost, and worm bins. Check San Mateo County’s RecycleWorks web site for discounts on compost bins and worm bins. Both provide great ways to recycle kitchen scraps and yard trimmings. <http://www.recycleworks.org/index.html>

I do go on…. :)