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During this time of pandemic, more so than in years past, many people are starting vegetable gardens right where they live. Growing your own vegetables means not only fewer trips to the grocery store and venturing out into public, but a way to help you feel like you are making a difference when your world feels out of control. 

Where To Begin?

For people who are new to farming, it is hard to know where to begin. Luckily for us all, there is limitless one-on-one advice on line, teaching us the "a, b, c's" of how to grow your own vegetables. Gail Langellotto, a professor of horticulture and statewide coordinator of the Master Gardener program at Oregon State University offers a free course through the end of April. Even if you miss the free introduction period, it is worth taking her introduction to gardening course. 

You Don't Need 100 Acres 

In fact, you don't even need any land at all! You can start your home garden on your porch or deck, using containers or decorative pots. With container gardening, all you need is a vessel, good soil, and plenty of sunlight. 

Jennifer Blackwell, one of our very own Chinowth & Cohen Realtors agent, has joined many Oklahomans who have started home gardens on their porches, big and small. She was recently featured in the Oklahoman talking about her experience.

As a segway from containers to raised beds, many people have adopted straw bale gardening, or tilled soil gardens. Straw bale gardening is when you use straw bales like raised beds in the yard so that no additional soil is needed.

Get Started With Seeds

Starting out may seem overwhelming but once you get going, you'll be done in no time. In 30-75 days you will have a productive garden of your own!

Start your seeds early, so that when the weather is consistently warm and your garden is ready, they will be too.

You can use used teabags to put seeds into, as it activates the growth process. Use empty Keurig cups or empty egg shells as the container for the teabags. Once the plants are big enough and the weather is warm enough, plant your seedlings right into the garden, giving them plenty of space to stretch their feet. Different varieties need different amounts of space, so be sure to do your research before you plant. 

Do you Prefer a Traditional In-ground Garden?

If you want to forgo the decorative pots or straw bales, and plant directly in the ground, you will need to apply some old fashioned hard work to get the ground ready. 

  • Getting the Grass out - This step requires elbow grease, or better still, a teenager! Skim the grass off the top after wetting it to soften. You can either compost or throw this grass away, but you want to save as much dirt in this process as possible. Smothering the area with a clear plastic tarp may do the same trick, but it could take up to several weeks to kill pests and grass depending on how hot it gets.
  • Preparing the Soil - Begin layering with black ink only newspaper, weed barrier cloth, or cardboard before adding any new dirt to keep any new grass or weeks from growing up in your new garden. 
  • Know your region - Choose plants that will thrive in your planting zone. Test your soil. Some areas have more acidity or clay which makes growing difficult. Depending on your soil quality, you might need to add conditioners to make the atmosphere more hospitable to your new plants.

Handy Tip - Make a blueprint of where you planted which vegetable in your garden because it is easy to forget!

Becoming an urban farmer provides countless benefits to you and the environment. Whether growing a single tomato plant or enough vegetables for you and your entire neighborhood, it can improve your physical health by supplying your diet with nutritious vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Gardening is a way to get outside for some fresh air, physical activity, and absorb vitamin D from the sunshine, all promoting physical health. And don't forget, you can save money by growing your own vegetables!


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