In Slavic mythology, the leshy was considered the tutelary god of the forests. A hunter demon-deity with the power of shapeshifting, the leshy was a capricious and malevolent entity that roamed the desolate backwoods of Russia. Most active in the summer months, he would play tricks on unsuspecting travelers, sometimes leading them to their doom. In some cases, villagers would make a pact with him by handing him their crosses. Amidst geopolitical turmoil, exorbitant prices, and pervasive societal malaise, the creatures of myth are often forgotten, but their allegorical message lives on: be kind to nature, and it will be kind to you.
A time of abundance and warm weather, summer is the season that many look forward to the most. Make the most of your summer by delving into the therapeutic hobby of gardening. Gardening is a sustainable way to reduce costs, improve your diet, and support the local economy. And while it may seem intimidating to start, overcoming challenges is part of the learning process. Below are a few tips to help you get started in growing your own food this season.
Benefits to Growing Your Own Food
Growing your food offers many benefits, some of which may be unexpected. Apart from being more sustainable, growing your own food helps you cut down on costs, reduce food waste, and lower carbon emissions. Though it may not seem like much, each individual effort can be compounded to create a much greater change.
- Limit food waste. The US discards more food than any other country in the world – nearly 60 million tons. Nearly 40% of food in America is wasted, with over a third of produce from farmers going to waste each year. Having a garden indirectly reduces associated packaging, the miles traveled, and other factors that concern supermarket produce.
Food tastes better. Some gardeners attribute the improved taste of vegetables to a psychological effect, but that is only partially true. Crops grown in your garden will be fresher and contain more nutrients, without any processing or added chemicals. By the time produce reaches your grocery store, it has likely already experienced vital nutrient loss.
Beautifies your yard. Vegetable gardens not only provide high quality crops, but are also aesthetically pleasing. Avoid the dullness of traditional gardens by incorporating the French concept of potager gardens, which intersperses vegetables with herbs and flowers in organized delineations.
- Beneficial for the environment. Every step of the food production process contributes to carbon emissions, which is harmful to the environment. When you grow your food at home, it goes straight from your garden to your table, reducing the time-consuming process of transporting crops miles away from where it has been grown.
Overcoming Common Obstacles and Fears
If you find yourself struggling to grow more than a few paltry plants, then it is time to try those solutions. Below are a couple common problems beginner gardeners experience and how to overcome them.
- Lack of space. Sprawling garden estates and quaint cottage gardens seem to dominate glossy home and garden magazines, and this can deter away gardeners that have a lack of space or unsightly yards. Container gardeners or raised bed gardening allows gardeners with limited outdoor space to grow a fruitful harvest. They can be placed virtually anywhere, from the patio to the balcony. Growing compact or dwarf varieties can also help save space.
- Soil is of poor quality. Dry, brown spots of grass during the summer can turn your backyard into an eyesore. This is an indicator of poor soil quality or drought damage. While growing your crops in raised beds doesn’t necessarily solve the aesthetics issue, it does alleviate the burden of digging into your yard. Raised garden beds allow you control over the soil quality so you don’t have to go through the bother of amending and tiling it. Worm castings can also improve soil structure by increasing aeration, improving drainage, and enhancing moisture retention.
- Too much work. The idea of toiling under intense heat will discourage most gardeners. However, most of vegetable gardening can be reduced to weeding and watering. Other tasks can be simplified with drip irrigation, straw mulch, and vermicomposting. In the end, the sense of pride you derive from harvesting your own vegetables makes it worthwhile.
1.Start Simple with an Herb Garden
For those with little or no space, they can consider starting an herb garden. Herbs can be grown on a sunny windowsill or in containers. Even if you only have a small patch of land, you can grow herbs, vegetables, or small fruit trees in specialized herb raised garden beds.
2.Simplify Composting with Vermicomposting
Rich, well-drained soil high in organic matter is crucial in achieving optimal gardening results. Subpar soil can often be amended with organic compost. Simplify your composting by harnessing the digestive power of worms using Vego Garden’s worm composter. Unlike traditional composting systems, this worm composter is hassle-free and smell-free – simply place it in the ground, fill with kitchen scraps, and let nature do the work.
3.Grow Vegetables That You Enjoy Eating
Beginners may feel compelled to grow low-maintenance vegetables that offer the highest yield, but they should also consider what they want to eat. The crisp taste of sweet peas and the versatility of potatoes are sure to assuage even the pickiest of eaters. If you are not particularly tastes averse, then tomatoes, lettuce, and kale are staple starter plants. Those looking to expand their palate can consider growing the exotic dragon fruit using Vego Garden’s innovative dragon fruit planter, specifically designed to support its water-filled branches.
4.Quickly Identify Issues to Avoid Mistakes
If you’re one of those people that has been plagued by an unlucky streak of dead plants, whether it be from the elements or pests, you shouldn’t get discouraged. It is important to identify the core issues behind wilting plants and take measures to remedy them. Pests can be deterred using garden covers and nets. Start with easy plants that require minimal care and build your confidence from there.
5.Gather Your Gardening Equipment
If you are growing in raised garden beds, you will likely only need a few basic tools: gloves, watering hose, a spade, pruning shears and scissors. One useful tool every gardener should have at all times is the 10 in 1 Hori Hori knife kit,
which functions as a trowel, shovel, and knife. This practical tool can be used for a multitude of purposes: harvesting, measuring plants, and opening soda cans.