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About three years ago, my husband Doug and I became interested in growing some of our own food. There’s something so fulfilling about planting seeds and watching them flower into food that can actually nourish your family. Even more, kids who are picky eaters are much more interested in food that they’ve grown themselves. It’s a fabulous way to spend time together as a family, to eat locally (since there’s nothing more local than food grown in your yard or, if you’re urban, on your patio), and to begin to live more sustainably. It’s also economical in the long run, and it’s an excellent form of exercise. Gardening is far better for your soul than huffing and puffing in an indoor gym.

Still, as much fun as it’s been to learn about gardening, there’s so much information out there, and it’s a constant learning process for our family. For instance, given that so many plants are harvested in the summer, many people think that all of your planting has to be done in early spring in order to yield any real produce. This isn’t true – there are plenty of vegetables and herbs that can be planted this time of year:

1) Warm-weather vegetables such as beans, corn, squash, and tomatoes can still do well if planted soon.

2) Now is the perfect time to plant your cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts for a winter harvest.

And if you’re new to gardening and feel overwhelmed by all that’s out there, start small with a couple of herbs that can even be grown in containers on a patio. Rosemary, basil, and cilantro are all amazing when they’re fresh, and they’re quite easy to grow.

Lastly, for anyone interested in learning more about growing food specific to your region, here’s a great website with information on gardening zones. Once you know your zone (I’m in Zone 7), you can find loads of information on what to grow and how to get started.

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