From: The Grow Network
by Joe Urbach, publisher and author
There was a time when people gardened because backyard produce was far better and cheaper than anything from the store. To tell the truth, it still is, or at least it still can be. Yet some are convinced that you have to spend a bundle of money to have a really nice, healthy garden. I think that this misconception grew out of the fact that most people have backyards that are filled with really poor/weak soil. The reasons for this are complicated – a subject for another day. Suffice it to say that if the soil is weak, your plants will also be weak. And so it follows that weak plants have poor production, leading to more time and money spent on a low quantity of low quality vegetables.
This means that you need to enrich your soil. Because most people are not making their own compost at home, they need to buy fertilizer. Plant fertilizers purchased from the local garden center often contain chemicals that may harm your plants, and are not environmentally friendly. In addition, fertilizer can be a bit pricey, and this is most likely why the myth that home gardens are expensive continues. This is not necessarily true, you needn’t spend a bundle of money because, believe it or not, you are full of fertilizer!
Making your own organic plant food is easy and fun. It should be noted that most people understand that the best way to get good garden soil is to use compost to amend the soil. Of course, that is true. Compost can be made at home out of leftover food scraps and lawn clippings, and so it is virtually cost-free. Composting may be all one needs for a successful home vegetable crop. If, however, the soil is still lacking in nutrients or if you are planting a more demanding vegetable garden, augmenting with another type of fertilizer may be advisable. So why spend good money on store bought fertilizer when you can make it yourself with just a small amount of information?
Joe Urbach is the original Kitchen Garden Farmer and has both lived and worked in the Austin, Texas area for over 30 years. In the last ten to twelve years he has concentrated his efforts on installing many raised bed and container kitchen gardens in Texas from Austin to San Antonio and all surrounding areas. He has also been teaching young and old how to maintain their kitchen gardens and how to help their kitchen gardens provide a bountiful harvest of healthy, delicious and really fun to grow (and eat) foods.
While still very much the advocate for a “kitchen garden in every home” Joe now finds that his focus is set on changing the way we all think of our food – be it from our kitchen gardens, farmers markets or the local supermarket.