Written by: Sasha Benevides, Festival Coordinator
It’s 2015 and the Milton Environmental Group is planning their second year of raised garden beds at Grace Anglican Church on Main Street:
Like the Milton Environmental Group, many other community groups, households, and schools in Halton have taken to growing their own food.
Having your own food garden is a great way to grow your own produce and get outdoors, but some find gardening intimidating. So to help gardeners of every level, we’ve collected some information for those of you looking to flex your green thumb this year.
A Good Way to Get Started
A great way to ease into gardening is with herbs. Herbs are generally more forgiving, take up very little space and don’t require as much attention as other plants. They’re also a good alternative for people who don’t have access to an outdoor green space but still want edibles. The colour and scent they’ll add to your home are an extra bonus!
You can even recycle old food cartons, mason jars or cans (preferably BPA free) as containers to house your herbs.TIP: Cans can rust, so make sure you keep them on a non-metal tray
Some beginner friendly options to get you started:
You can start all of these from seed in a sunny area, or an easier option is to buy mature plants from your local grocery store. TIP: look for organic, GMO free or heirloom varieties.
For a full list of Five Herbs that Thrive Inside click here.
Winter Gardening Options
Yes it’s winter, and it’s cold… but that doesn’t mean we can’t garden. Plenty of seeds can be started indoors in January. This gives you plenty of time to nurture the plants before they’re ready to be transplanted into your outdoor garden.
Another option for winter gardeners are indoor containers. Besides herbs, there are several vegetables that you can harvest indoors. Some veggies to try out:
These veggies do need access to light so an area by a South facing window is ideal for indoor winter gardening. A South-West or West window can work too, and if you are lacking natural sunlight but still want to grow veggies inside, try out a grow light system.
Where to Find Seeds
Selecting good quality seeds is important, especially if you’d like to save seeds for your garden next year. We suggest looking for organic, GMO free or heirloom seeds. Some good local resources are:
- Seedy Saturdays– exchange or purchase seeds and listen to speakers discuss gardening, great for people looking to learn more about gardening.
- Hawthorn Farm– certified organic seeds
- U harvest– certified organic seeds
- Cottage Gardener– heirloom seeds with organic options
- Dam Seeds
Using Cooking Scraps to Garden
We at Conservation Halton love composting, but there are some kitchen scraps you may want to keep instead of tossing in the green bin. Several vegetables can be regrown using their stalks and roots (see, 16 Foods to Re-Grow from Kitchen Scraps for more). Try saving the root base of these plants next time you cook and watch them get a second life:
- Scallions/Green Onions
- Romaine Lettuce