To Grow or Not to Grow

Spring has finally arrived. After perusing the seed catalogs in January, attending flower and garden shows in February, and watching the days get longer in March, it’s time to think about what and where to plant. Whether you have acreage or a container garden on your balcony there are decisions to be made. Should you grow flowers or vegetables? Should you start from seed or purchase seedlings? 

Because of today’s economy, many people are deciding to grow their own vegetables. If you only have a small garden space you might peruse A Little Piece of Earth: How to Grow Your Own Food in Small Spaces.  This paperback size book with hand drawn illustrations is an eco-friendly guide with fun and easy projects for all levels. It doesn’t matter whether you have a yard, a terrace, a rooftop, or just a windowsill—you’ll find plenty of ideas and inspirations, as well as recipes and a complete resources section. One Magic Square: The Easy, Organic Way to Grow Your Own Food on a 3-Foot Square is another good book if you only have a little space. The author claims that one square yard of garden will provide a tenth of a person’s food needs, and she encourages everyone to start a magic square or two.

For those with a little more space, there’s Small-Plot, High-Yield Gardening. The most impressive thing about this book is the array of garden plans for different garden sizes. The author presents plans for a 750, 1,500 and 3,000 square foot gardens drawn to scale with succession plantings dates for mid-summer and fall crops, as well as plans for many other types of vegetable gardens.

If you are overwhelmed at just the thought of starting a garden, there’s Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens. This book offers a  foolproof approach that will appeal to both new and experienced gardeners. Each garden plan is laid out with a precise list of materials and plants based on detailed landscape plans suitable for small city gardens as well as larger suburban backyards. 

 Grow Great Grub: Organic Food from Small Spaces teaches you how to choose a location and make the most of your soil (even if it’s less than perfect), build a raised bed, compost bin, and self-watering container using recycled materials, and many more useful tricks. The author’s website is another excellent source of gardening information. 

The library also has many excellent magazines, such as Fine Gardening, GardenWise, and Gardens Illustrated, in the Home & Garden section.  So, after deciding what to grow, it’s time get out your gloves, spade and a kneeling pad and start digging!