Written by: Nancy Vandenberg
Nutrition Instructor at Everett Community College and WSU Sustainable Community Steward
As a nutrition professional and sustainable nutrition advocate, it’s hard to believe that until several years ago, I didn’t have much of a garden. Here’s how I got started.
A big eye-opener for me was reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, her account of her family’s challenge of eating only local food for a year, much of it grown themselves. Wow–I was inspired! Too bad I read the book in October, really too late in the year to rip up the lawn and plant tomatoes, which was what I was envisioning. And did I mention that my gardening skills are minimal at best?
And the next summer, I was out of town till after the 4th of July. Still inspired, my first task was to pull out the 21-year-old juniper bushes along the driveway and plant blueberry bushes. Luckily our son came over to visit–and he loves blueberries. He had those junipers out in a couple of hours. It would have taken me the rest of the summer. Bushes planted–we were on our way toward total edible landscaping.
Blueberries lining the driveway, with squash planted behind to fill in the space
Nine summers later, I’m still not the greatest gardener. We still have a very shady back yard. I still have a lot to learn. So in other words, if I can do this, really anyone can. Start small–with a fruit tree or a few pots of tomatoes on your deck. Swiss chard is easy and looks beautiful. A green-bean tipi is simple and also pretty. Step-by-step, you can eat healthier and as local as you can possibly get. We still don’t have total edible landscaping, but we are on our way, one step at a time.
Volunteering in the Farmer Frog gardens, or at the Farmer’s Market you can learn a lot about growing your own food. Join us this summer!
Farmer Frog Growing Tip:
Although it is mid-June it’s not too late to plant a few things, some will even carry on through winter. Amend your soil with compost, or plant directly in compost when possible.
- Starts and any short season crops
- Greens: lettuce, chard, kale, arugula
- Beets (also ok into July)
- Soon you can plant onion seeds for next harvesting next year