Monday, November 7, 2011

Why you should grow your own fruit or vegetables

Before I started growing anything, like many others, I was skeptical about having enough time or knowledge to do it correctly. I did my research and found tons of blogs, videos and forums on this topic. What I found was the same resounding response. Grow your own fruit and vegetables because it tastes better, looks great in your garden, is very fulfilling and in the long term is much cheaper than buying at the super market.

Now this might seem like a lot of great reasons and you might be wondering why not everyone is doing it, but there are some simple reasons. Some people aren't interested in gardening or taking care of something long term. Some people have tried growing flowers and other plants and have not been successful as they lost interest or just simply forgot about them. Also, fruits and vegetables require certain climates, pots, watering schedules, fertilizers and often time are a larger plant than a simple flower or small plant.  These are all valid ideas, but the truth is that growing vegetables or fruit that you will eventually eat is so much more rewarding.  Also, as these plants tend to take longer to grow and do end up producing something edible you will find that you are more likely to grow a bond with your plants. You will get to see leaves grow, flowers grow, fruit grow and witness it week by week.
Most vegetable and fruit plants evolve as they mature from possibly changing colors, growing pups, growing flowers and releasing great aroma. Did you know that some blueberry plant's leafs turn red in the fall? Or that a strawberry actually grows from the center of its flowers? It is an extraordinary feeling to witness your plants growing, forming, and then bearing fruit. Ok so none of my plants have any fruit yet, but I'm excited in anticipation of the spring where I'm sure I'll have some nice strawberries and possibly blueberries.

You will find that once you start growing one plant you'll want to grow more. They all have their own seasons and bear fruit at different times. There are some gardeners that set up their plants so there is something fruiting year round. But, of course that takes a lot of commitment.

Ok so I think I got of track there. My point is that growing your own plants and vegetables is very rewarding and you'll save yourself a lot of money. You will end up with an abundance of fruits for years (depending on your plant). A Dwarf apple tree can stay with you for over 50 years. Can you image having fresh apples every year that you and your children can enjoy? Also, there are some lemon varieties that fruit multiple times a year.

So, with the right care and environment you can grow pretty much anything you like. If your climate gets very cold in the winter you also have the option of growing fruits or vegetables in containers indoors. I have over 11 plants growing right now (November) in my sunroom. And they are all alive and well!

I will also admit that prior to this I had never grown, attempted or really wanted to grow anything. But, I visited my cousin and one of my other good friends and saw that they had gardens. They told me about how fun it was to see your plants grow and eat their amazing fruit. They also told me how their plants had done so well that they had to give away some of their fruit and vegetables because it was more than they could eat or store. I was amazed. I saw their nice tomatoes, squash, peppers and pumpkins. I thought to myself , "wow I wonder if I could do that too!".

After doing some research online to find out what I'd need I ordered some plants from reputable locations. ( I will discuss this in another post) Got some soil, pots, perlite and some fertilizer.
Another very important step that I would recommend to everyone is; don't do this alone. Meaning that you want to share your experiences and learn from others. There are plenty of blogs like mine, forums and other sites where you can ask people questions and be given advice in a timely fashion.

As I wrote on here before was a huge help for me. I was able to ask rookie questions and learn tons from others growing similar banana plants to mine. I was also able to find others who had grown or were growing bananas in my climate. This added to my confidence that I would be able to do it. I found great tips on soil, feeding, watering schedules, and common pests you'd want to look out for.
But, I'm sure that if you do start growing your fruits and vegetables, like me, you'll want to share with others. It is a very fun and rewarding hobby and most people look upon it as a very positive hobby. I have been getting nothing but encouragement and "really, you can grow that in Massachusetts?" or "wow, tell me more".

My main reason to grow these fruits is because I love fruit! I told myself if I'm going to grow something its going to be something I'm going to enjoy. That is my tip to you. If you grow something, grow something that you will be excited to taste once it grows. And when you do get to eat your first fruit you'll know where its been, and that its perfectly fresh. There will be no pesticides, no storage chemicals it will literally be 'right off the vine/tree'.

So I hope this post wasn't all over the place, but I am very passionate about this and continue to learn every day. I find out about more strains, hybrids, sizes, colors and varieties of every fruit or vegetable. You will find that after you start growing something you'll be interested in growing something else as well just to try something new. The beauty of this is that in most situations the plant itself can be as little as a $1.00. You can get tomato, lettuce, onion, chive or almost any seeds for under $2.00. Sure it takes longer to grow, but that is extremely budget friendly! Now if you're looking at trees you will most likely be spending more, but its a tree!!

So try growing something this season. Get a small 4 inch pot, get some seeds of something that interests you and help it grow. Feel free to ask me for advice and I'd be happy to help you in any way possible.  This adventure is fun, ongoing and you'll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. I highly recommend it!

If you do start growing something please send me a note as I'm always interested in hearing about other's gardens.

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