NOVA gardening

Growing Your Own Vegetables

Gardening is a great option to provide healthy food options for your family. Gardening is also a great way to get some physical activity, fresh air and sunshine. Gardening outside connects you with nature and can destress the body. Vegetable gardens can save you money on grocery bills.  Families who create gardens eat more fruits and vegetables than those who do not. 

Let’s start with some of the best fruits and vegetables to grow in Northern Virginia: 

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Lettuce and Leafy Greens
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini and Squash
  • Beans
  • Berries (Strawberries, Raspberries, Blackberries)
  • Herbs (Basil, Parsley, Mint, Oregano)
  • Broccoli and Cauliflower
  • Carrots and Radishes

Once you’ve figured out what you’d like to grow, follow these tips for beginner gardeners:

  • Before you start digging, choose a location that takes into consideration the size of the garden you want, the type of plants you want to grow and your climate. 
  • The amount of sunlight each area gets; some plants need full sun while others tolerate partial shade.
  • Consider how much time you have to garden; you can start small and gradually increase the size of your garden, as you gain experience.
  • Water plants regularly, at the base of the plant and early in the day. Clear weeds from your garden regularly; weeds compete with plants for water. 
  • The best time to plant a garden varies depending on your climate. In general, you should plant when the soil is warm and the weather is consistently temperate. Consult the National Gardening Association website  for the best time to start planting your garden and other helpful tips. 

It’s always a good idea to consult with local gardening resources on your journey. Check out the Virginia Cooperative Extension for specific advice tailored to your area. Lastly, if starting a garden is not possible, consider participating in a local community garden

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