Thursday, April 28, 2011

Home Ec - Vegetable Gardening 101

Ok, so we are doing this series at church on Wednesday nights, where we offer different classes that each  last six weeks. During this six week session we are offering one class called Home Ec 101. Each week a different topic will be discussed by a different lady. This past Wednesday was Vegetable Gardening and I was the lucky lady who was teaching!! A little nervous I might add.
I didn't really feel that I was qualified to teach the class. It's not like I went to college for vegetable gardening or anything ( I do have a teaching degree in business) but still not very sure of myself. It's a little different teaching adults rather than teenagers. I am glad to report it went very well and actually I was able to answer most of the questions with confidence!

I thought I would share some of what we talked about and went over in the class, here on my blog. This may take more than one post....

1. My Experience/ My hearts desire:
     If you have not heard the story of how we ended up in our home go visit the Farm House page first!!! This will tell you my heart's desire to be a homemaker and a good steward with what God has given me, not only with my house but also with my land!
     As I mentioned I don't really have a lot of experience other than what I've tried over the past 6 years. I know what I know because I have tried things for myself. I read a lot of magazines, books, web sites, whatever I find that might be helpful and interesting. I think we learn best by doing!!!

2. Why have a Garden:
      There are many reasons...when it comes to homemaking I always think of the virtuous woman of Proverbs 31. She was the ultimate homemaker!! Proverbs 31:16 - She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard. Even the virtuous woman played in the dirt. She was thrifty and a good steward of the land God had given her.
      Having a garden will provide you with fresh, organic food. Our gardens are chemical free. I believe so much that all the disease and health issues today stem from how we eat! Everything is processed and drowning in chemicals!
      Fresh food is Live food. Food that was living at one time can nourish our bodies in a way that processed food can not. It is so much better for our health.
      Gardening is a great way to eat healthy in a cost effective way. It saves money, not only in the summer but if you freeze or can your bounty, it can save you money year round.
      For me, gardening is a hobby. I enjoy it. I love watching things grow and being able to go out and pick a salad for dinner! So fun! It is rewarding to know that I can provide good food for my family! I am a little extreme comparied to most people. We have two very large gardens and I put up a lot of food. But again I enjoy it!!

3. Where to Plant Your Garden:
      We are living in a country where 85% (or more) of the population live in subdivisions. The yards are tiny, the dirt is depleted of nutrient rich soil, the HOA's are restrictive, and most yards are not conducive to gardening.
      You first need to decide how much space you have and determine the size you want your garden to be. Depending on your space, you may decide to do a raised bed or potted plants. A raised bed would be beneficial to those who have really bad soil, hard clay. You can find a good example of a raised bed here. Lowe's offers several different raised beds. Check them out here.
      If you don't have a lot of time or money to put into a raised bed, or if you will be the only person eating from your garden, pots are a great option. They are fairly inexpensive and easy to move to a sunny spot.
      You want to make sure your soil is prepared and has the adequate nutrients. Our local county soil and water conservation office offers free soil testing. They can tell you what your soil is lacking. I have found that adding some good, natural, fertilizer (in my case Chicken poop) does the soil good. I personally have never had my soil tested. I probably should....
       You want to pick a spot in your yard that get at least 6-8 hours of sun light a day. Most all plants are sun lovers! Lettuce can take partial shade...If you look at your seed packet or the label that comes with your plants it will tell you the ideal growing conditions for that plant.

 Ok, that was a lot of information for one post...I will post more about: What to Plant, Seeds or Plants, Companion planting, Spaceing plants, Heirloom/Hybrid, Keys to success.

If you have any questions please, please ask! Like I told my class, I don't know what you want to learn or what you have questions about. So ask and I will do my best to answer!!

Until next time,
Sarah Beth

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