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"Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to its liberty and interests by the most lasting bonds." – Thomas Jefferson
Planting a garden can be easy as peas. According to the National Gardening Association, 35 percent of American households had some kind of kitchen garden in 2009. Add to that number and help reclaim our food system by growing some vegetables in your backyard or in a container. Figure out the what, where, when and hows of your garden with the following resources:
Scrolling through seed catalogues can be an enjoyable experience on its own: the plush colors of a royal burgundy bush bean, the eccentric patterns on a tigerella tomato, the bulbous shape of a lemon cucumber; who knew our staple vegetables could come in so many different shapes, sizes and colors?
Part of the fun of planting a garden is planning what to grow. During a rainy Portland winter day, curl up with a seed catalogue and let your imagination run wild.
Some recommended organic seed suppliers:
Cornell Cooperative Extension: How to Save a Vegetable Seed
Organize or participate in a seed swap!
Tools can be expensive. Don't let that stop you; it's not necessary to have your own.
Visit a tool library near you:
Timing is everything. Your ground is ready and beds are made, but before starting your seeds, it's important to know what's best to plant and when in the Pacific Northwest.
These resources will help you plan for a fresh supply of produce in your garden year round:
Part of gardening is not being in control. Whether you're growing inside or outside, your plants are fair game for sliming slugs, foul fungi and intrepid invasives. Not all unintended garden guests are bad - some insects and plants can complement the health of your crops. If you do see a budding problem in your bed, for the health of your soil, the critters living in it and you, the consumer of homegrown vegetables, it is important to use environmentally sound methods pest, weed and disease management.
Here are some resources for natural or organically approved weed/pest/disease management:
Ask a Multnomah Master Gardener: