Sustainable food growing - you can in your urban yard!

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Sustainable food growing - you can in your urban yard!
Growing food that tastes good, safe to eat, has no pesticides and is also good for the environment, requires a bit more thinking than growing food with conventional methods, but it is possible and is worth the extra effort.

You can grow a lot of food even in a small container. It is important to plant things together that will help each other as they grow. We cal this practice companion planting. Many vegetable love growing together. There is an excellent book called Carrots Love Tomatoes that can give you good ideas about what you can grow together for good results.

Carrots really do love tomatoes! Tomatoes want to get tall and wide and carrots grow deep into the soil. Carrots want shade and the tomatoes provide that well. Tomatoes need a lot of water and the deep roots of the carrots help pulling the moisture up from the lower soil layers so they can help the tomatoes reach more water. Carrots also repel insects that would bother tomatoes. 

Other buddies for these two are basil and garlic! Sounds like a good recipe? It is for sure. Give it a try, plant them all in one container and enjoy them over the season.

Another very old companion grouping is what is called the three sisters. Squash, or pumpkin or cucumber, some sort of beans and corn. It works well because the beans tie nitrogen from the air into the soil and help feed the corn and squash-family plants, and in return they can climb on the corn stalks awhile the squash leaves shade the soil and keep it moist.The plant combination was developed by the Native People in the US Southwest. 

In spring or in a cooler shady garden during the entire season, you can combine green peas, lettuce or spinach and radishes in the same container and grow all of them successfully. 

The most important thing is to keep your plants well fed and maintain a strong immune system for them. If you use compost to plant, it will help with both of these things. Water them only when the soil feels dry to the touch otherwise they will get too wet. If you see any pests on the plants, you can hit them with a strong water spray to knock them off the plants and that way you don't have to use any sprays. Even organic sprays can be toxic to us and can leave some residue that needs to be washed off the veggies before using them.

The author for this blog is Zsofia Pasztor. Please see her full profile here

Posted by Ashish Malgi on