National Garden Clubs Says Home Vegetable, Fruit and Herb Gardening
Makes Sense in Today’s World
ST. LOUIS – Late summer may sound like the wrong time to start or extend a home vegetable garden. However, for Americans concerned about rising food and fuel prices, produce safety and environmental issues, planting a fall or cool-season vegetable garden in the heat of summer makes a lot of sense.
In fact, Renee Blaschke, president of the not-for-profit National Garden Clubs Inc., which is the largest volunteer organization of its type in the world, says that the surge in home vegetable, herb and fruit gardening that emerged across the U.S. this spring and early summer shows no signs of abating.
“As noted in many news reports, American seed companies and garden centers have experienced a banner year for selling vegetable, fruit and herb seeds and starter plants,” Blaschke says. “People are widely concerned about combating rising food costs, avoiding contaminated produce and reducing their ‘carbon footprints’ by eating locally grown food that eliminates fuel consumption associated with shipping. In this environment, interest in home vegetable gardening has really ignited and should continue to grow.”
Blaschke notes that novice vegetable gardeners may not realize how easily the home-growing season can be extended several months by using the proper techniques and planning for local soil and climate conditions. To help gardeners attain success in growing their own produce, National Garden Clubs offers these tips:
Start small. If you’re just getting started as a gardener, remember that your vegetable patch should be small enough to plant and maintain easily.
Think outside the pot. Vegetable and herb gardens come in all shapes and sizes, from raised beds to containers of all varieties. Herbs can be grown in small portable containers and brought inside during the winter. Tomatoes can be grown in containers, traditional beds or even bales of hay dotted with soil-filled holes. Urban gardeners can plant on rooftops or window boxes. Home gardeners are often adaptable, creative folks who are only too happy to swap ideas with fellow growers.
Take advantage of online resources. Information on growing vegetables and cool-weather crops in various regions and zones is available through university extension programs and a variety of online gardening sites and blogs.
Don’t go it alone. With some 200,000 members and 6,300 member and affiliated clubs, National Garden Clubs Inc. offers support and resources, including local gardening courses that are open to the public for minimal fees. To locate a garden club in your area or to check course listings, visit the NGC Web site at www.gardenclub.org.