City Dweller Join Growing Trend.
With more people stuck at home, recent reports of the renewed interest in gardening is no surprise. Nurseries report an uptick in sales of vegetable starts over ornamentals. Oregon State University’s offer of a free gardening class crashed their site. And our favorite seed source, Baker Creek had to shut down for several days to restock and catch up on all their orders.
There are many benefits, both practical and therapeutic to growing your own food. Many see it as a way to control the food they eat, without going to a store. But there are also great psychological benefits – something we can all use during times of stress. The biggest benefit is often just starting a living thing from scratch and nurturing it to full growth. It is very satisfying – even in the Pacific Northwest with a relatively short growing season.
The Container Gardening Option
Now, someone living in an urban or suburban settings might think “Yeah, but I don’t have any land for a garden”. Well, the good news is, you can grow many items in containers and still reap the benefits of growing your own food. Before moving to our country home, we lived in a townhome subdivision with tiny lots. Even there, we used our patio and small patches of ground to grow a variety of container vegetables. Many plants are especially well-suited for containers: lettuce, patio tomatoes, and any numbers of herbs come to mind.
We feel extremely fortunate we have the yard space for our garden. Yet, we still grow a few patio vegetables for convenience – they are both decorative and practical.
Our best success has been with Northwest specific tomatoes like Home Slice and Silvery Fir. It’s great to be fixing a salad and, instead of running out to the garden, just stepping out on the deck and picking a few tomatoes. Or adding fresh-clipped herbs to any dish.
So, start small and try a few things. Do some research on what grows best in your area. There are any number of web sites and YouTube videos to help you. Pick a few plants that are designed to grow in containers. Starting from seed might work, but can sometimes be tricky. So it’s best to start with seedling plants. There are several online services that will ship live plants to your home. Also, you may be able to order starter plants from your local nursery and have them delivered, or do a safe pickup like a grocery order.
However you do it, you will be rewarded with your own food and the mental satisfaction of growing and nurturing something living.