With all the talk these days of chemicals being used on produce to kill bugs and genetically modified organisms, many people are taking an interest in growing their own food. When you want to be sure you’re not being fed poisons and harmful additives in your food, growing a garden is the way to go. Starting your own fruit or veggie garden is more doable than you think. When it comes to the easy gardening options for seniors, there are quite a few to choose from.
From cucumbers to tomatoes to zucchini, you can fill your kitchen with fresh, flavorful foods that can be canned or frozen to eat all year round. We’ve put together a list of tips to help make your first gardening experience a pleasurable and fruitful one.
Staking Out Your Garden
Choose a sheltered, sunny spot, about 200 square feet in size, to grow your vegetables in. You should make sure the soil is cleared of rocks, stems, and other debris. It’s a good idea to use topsoil when sowing your garden if you’re not sure of the health of the soil in your yard. The healthier your soil is the less you need of fertilizers and pesticides, which is exactly what you’re trying to avoid.
Deciding What To Plant
Check out gardening magazines and websites to find out which plants are easy to grow and produce lots of vegetables. Here’s a sampling of the most popular varieties that offer easy gardening for seniors:
- Lettuce, which most people have a head of in their fridge right now, is one of the easiest and most high-producing things you can grow. Harvest leaves as the plant is growing to add to a fresh salad every night this summer.
- Tomato plants are a high-yield option, the fruit of which can be stewed, canned, used in sauces, and frozen. Not much tastes better than a deep red, juicy, ripe tomato fresh from the vine.
- When picked at full ripeness, corn on the cob is very good and sweet. Stalks grow to between five and ten feet tall, producing lots of corn for cooking and canning. You can take it from the garden, to a pot of boiling water, and to the table with ease. No corn at the market is sweeter.
- Cucumbers are a favorite of many gardeners. Pickling cucumbers and the slicing kind come in several varieties. You can train them to grow up the fence next to your other plants and use the room you saved to grow some fresh herbs for use in cooking and canning.
- Beginning gardeners and even children are encouraged to grow zucchini because it’s easy and rewarding to raise. From seed to fruit in four to six weeks, you’ll be using zucchini as a healthy replacement for pasta in many dishes, creating delightful veggie medleys, and in pickling recipes in no time.
Inspect Plants Before Buying Them
When you’re at the garden center looking at plants to replant into your garden at home, keep an eye out for dead spots on leaves, faded colors, or insects. Take it a step further and tip the plant out of its planter to examine the roots. To confirm a healthy root system, look for firm roots that are light in color and are threaded throughout the soil.
Watch For Bugs In Your Garden
Check your plants regularly for signs of infestation so you can remedy the problem quickly and save your garden. If leaves look eaten and pale, or fruit has holes in it, that is a sure sign of a bug problem. One organic solution is to mix boric acid with mint jelly and smear it on small pieces of cardboard to place near plants where you’ve noticed damage.
Water and Fertilize Properly
Make sure to follow the directions on plant and seed packages for how to care for your seedlings to ensure that your garden is healthy and strong. Water plants and fertilize them as often or as seldom as directed and watch your garden grow. Now, study this guide, make a list, and head out to your local garden center to rustle up everything you’ll need to grow your own healthy food.