| Great Veggies for Beginning Gardeners |
The popularity of fresh, local produce is encouraging many Americans to try their hand at something their great-grandparents did most years of their lives: grow vegetables in the garden! What might surprise their ancestors, however, is that rather than reading books or taking courses to become familiar with the art of vegetable garden, today's young farmers are more likely to seek help from the Internet.
"There are so many resources at the disposal of new gardeners today," Park Seed Director of Seed Merchandising Stephanie Turner remarks. "In addition to websites packed with growing information, there are huge networks of experienced gardeners just dying to help you learn. And social media puts the expertise of master gardeners and farmers at your fingertips."
As more and more varieties are available as plants compact enough for containers, vegetable gardening is expanding from rural and suburban gardens to urban balconies and front stoops. "Self-watering" containers include a built-in reservoir that keeps plants hydrated for days, making maintenance easier for today's busier gardeners. Hanging pouches and flexible sacks are available for growing strawberries, carrots, blueberries, and even potatoes in very little space. No matter what the space constraints, if a gardener can find sunshine, vegetables can be grown!
So what should a new gardener grow first? For at least a few feet of available garden space in the sun, Turner recommends radishes, beans, and squash. "These are among the easiest of all vegetables," she notes, "and they have a high harvest potential." Beans are valuable for another reason: as legumes, they are nitrogen-fixers in the soil. Turner recommends not only growing these easy vines, but also chopping up the plants after the beans have been harvested and working them back into the soil, to create a richer loam for next season.
For new gardeners preferring to begin with container varieties, Turner advocates lettuce. It sprouts quickly, and the loose-leaf types such as romaine and arugula can be picked leaf by leaf as needed for salads all season long.
And for gardeners seeking beauty as well as nutrition, flowering annuals make splendid companions to all vegetables. Super-easy varieties include zinnia, marigold, and cosmos. These flowers also attract the pollinating bees and butterflies that vegetables need, and add pops of eye-catching color that help remind new gardeners it's time to water the garden or check the harvest!
With today's online resources, the availability of a wide array of varieties, and the versatility of new types of containers, growing vegetables at home is easier and more fun than ever before.
For more information on our great veggies for beginning gardeners, visit parkseed.com or contact us directly at our public relations department at 1-864-941-4521.
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