Homegrown: Easier than you think + $20 giveaway

Enter for a $20 gift certificate giveaway! See details at bottom of posting...

You may think growing your own vegetables sounds like a difficult task, but starting small with some potted plants can be surprisingly easy (even for someone who doesn’t have a green thumb). Last year was my first year with a garden and let’s just say….I learned a lot about what not to do again this year! I definitely have room for improvement as a gardener myself, but I know that when a vegetable you planted does well, it can be extremely satisfying.

“The food you grow yourself is fresher than any you can buy,” says Michael Pollan, and I have to say that I didn’t even think I liked tomatoes until I tried homegrown ones. I was amazed at the difference in taste compared to what you can buy at the grocery store (not to mention how much more nutritious homegrown vegetables are). We already established that farmers’ markets and CSA’s are fabulous resources for getting fresh, locally grown produce, but why not consider growing some food yourself?

All you have to do is go to the store (I recently discovered and highly recommend Renfrow Hardware in Matthews) and spend a nominal amount of money on:

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•    1 plastic or clay pot (or a big bucket would do the trick)

•    1 tomato plant of your choice

•    Some gardening soil and compost to mix together into your pot

•    1 tomato cage

•    1 small bag of organic fertilizer (Renfrow Hardware recommends Plant-tone or Tomato-tone)

If you are feeling motivated also consider getting a 2nd or 3rd pot to start growing some herbs as well. My basil is one of the plants that did incredibly well last year (even for someone with hardly any experience like me!) and the flavor also goes so well with tomatoes. Once you have obtained your supplies it is important to know that you need to bury half or more of your tomato plant (including leaves) when planting it. Then find a super sunny spot for it on your deck or in your yard. Be sure to water it every day for about the first week and then every few days after that. Don’t forget to sprinkle a handful of the organic fertilizer around the base of the plant right after you plant it and then every 3 – 4 weeks thereafter (mark your calendar as a reminder)!

Mid-April to mid-May is the optimal time to plant tomatoes (as well as many other vegetables) here in the Southeast. About 2 or 3 months after you get your plant in the ground (or pot) be ready to enjoy some of your very first flavorful, juicy tomatoes. In order to help jumpstart your container garden Renfrow Hardware has graciously donated a $20 gift certificate that one lucky winner can put towards vegetable plant supplies. To enter, add a comment with your answer to this question: Growing my own food sounds (or is) appealing because...

The winner will be announced this weekend!