Eat Your Veggies, Grow Your Veggies

GardeningRemember when you were a little kid and your parents would say, “Eat your vegetables?” Well, that advice was true then and it’s still true today. We all know how important it is to eat healthy and of course, healthy eating means lots of fresh vegetables and fruit. Growing those vegetables yourself is a great way to get the freshest produce while getting exercise and having fun!

Getting out into the garden and getting your hands into the soil provides so many benefits for senior citizens. From engaging both small and large motor skills (like digging with that trowel) to reducing stress (breathing in that fresh air) to adding the nutritious final products to your diet, (that garden fresh spinach….yum, Popeye would love it!) we can all enjoy positive results from something as simple as a garden.

If you’ve hesitated to plant vegetables because you think you need a huge plot of land, hesitate no more. It’s not only possible to grow vegetables in containers, but container gardening is a perfect way to grow vegetables that you might not otherwise find in a grocery store like kohlrabi (it’s like a weird-looking cabbage) and chard (it’s like a cross between spinach and lettuce).

Before you plan a trip to the hardware store to buy containers and seeds or plants that will go in them, here’s a convenient guide to what works best in what size container:

  • 4-5 inches deep: chives, lettuce, radishes, other salad greens, basil, coriander.
  • 6-7 inches deep: bush beans, garlic, kohlrabi, onions, Asian greens, peas, mint, thyme.
  • 8-9 inches deep: pole beans, carrots, chard, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, leeks, peppers, spinach, parsley, rosemary.

One of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re starting a container garden is that you won’t have deep soil under the plant like you do when you plant an in-ground garden. What does that mean? Good question. The soil in a container will dry out quicker and you’ll need to water your containers more frequently so your plants stay hydrated.

Growing your own vegetables in your own garden is great, but what if you have a brown thumb? No worries. Milwaukee is a city that’s practically obsessed with farmers’ markets! There’s one in almost every neighborhood. This farmers’ market guide can let you find the farmers’ market near you. A trip to the farmers’ market isn’t just about buying vegetables, it’s a community event where families, kids, people of all ages go to walk around, peruse the goods, try the yummy samples, grab lunch, listen to music and just have a great time!

Sadly, summer is coming to an end and in a short time, the farmers’ markets will be closing for the season, but we are very lucky to have a winter farmers’ market just west of downtown at the beautiful Domes.

Regardless the time of year, buying farm fresh vegetables, herbs and other goodies is fun and easy no matter what the weather.

Read about Eastcastle Place’s very own beautiful flower and vegetable garden.