By JODY BRADLEY
If you are an avid gardener, by now you already have a few crops planted. I have two that are my favorite. First is a crop of lettuce, Parris Island COS. This romaine lettuce is heat hearty, lasts longer, and makes great wilted lettuce, which is why we grow lettuce, right? Sugar Snap Peas is my other surefire, start early crop. The vines can handle the cold and grow profusely. I have recipes available on request. Other early crops are Swiss Chard (another favorite), spinach, kale, onions, and radishes.
If you are short on space or have a small area to work with, Sugar Snaps and lettuces work great. I use an Earth box or grow bags. You can use a wide variety of containers for small crops. A repurposed child’s swimming pool makes a great lettuce bed. I like to drop a few onions bulbs in the bed with the lettuce. You can create a salad garden with onions, radishes, and lettuce that will get you through the early spring. I also start a herb garden (parsley, basil, rosemary and thyme) in pots that I can transfer outside after the cold breaks.
Watering is essential in small beds if Mother Nature doesn’t handle it. I try to water once a week with a diluted Miracle Grow if we don’t get rain. My favorite growing medium is the food waste compost the tribe sells (shameless promo). I add some peat moss or potting mix if it’s too dry, but I’ve not had a better grow formula, except for my own compost or worm cultures.
I know a lot of young people who want to get started gardening. To me, this is the best way. Start small, raise something you like, and enjoy the rewards.
If you would like recipes you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or FaceBook at A Cherokee Gardener’s Journal.