Growing Vegetables Increases Nutrition and Reduces Food Insecurity

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Vegetables add nutrition to any meal or snack. Growing produce can help save on the monthly food costs. Adding homegrown food benefits everyone and reduces the fear of food insecurity. Ideas for creating gardens of all sizes, from containers to plots of land, are available.

Homegrown fruits and vegetables are more flavorful than those shipped to the market from the farm. Imagine plucking a ripe tomato off the vine and biting into its juiciness. Moreover, there is pride in eating food grown pesticide-free in a home-based or community garden.

Fruits and vegetables can be started using bulbs, seeds, seedlings, and larger plants. Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients can be used to buy vegetable seeds and starts, herbs, fruit trees, and tomato plants.

The tomatoes in the image above started as a plant that was about a foot tall and grown in a community garden plot. It yielded a little over 4 pounds of fruit.

Onions, carrots, garlic, and similar crops can be “regrown” by rooting a cutting, and replanting them. For example, to regrown onions, all a person needs to do is cut off a section about an inch thick and reroot it to grow another.

Planning the Vegetable Garden

VegetableThe first thing to determine is what to grow and where it is going to be grown. Many vegetables grow well in containers, even root crops like carrots, turnips, and beets.

Container gardening is popular with apartment dwellers or home renters who are unable to plant inground. There are as many types of containers as the mind can imagine.

Potatoes, for example, can be grown in a stack of used tires or a specially designed bag.

Maximize the amount of food in a small space by adding a trellis to a large planter for green beans or peas, then add some lettuce and a root crop. Another small garden is the square foot model — the idea is to plant vegetables close together.

Written by Cathy Milne-Ware

Sources:

The Spruce: How to Get Free Seeds for Your Garden; by Stacy Fisher
Low-Income Relief: What can you buy with Food Stamps? By Nicole Thelin
SNAP Gardens: Toolkit for SNAP Participants
Gardenista: Your First Garden: How to Start a Garden for Practically Free; by Fan Winston

Images by Cathy Milne-Ware

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