Grow Your Own

Carol Bray

Isanti County Master Gardener

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like most of the people I know well and not so well are participating in the grow-your-own-food phenomena that seems to be taking hold in not just Isanti County, but by the U.S. and beyond.

I was beyond tickled that my 21-year old (single) grandson, Nathan, had a vegetable garden in 2010 and he’s making plans for this year’s garden.

All we need is a little bit of soil (soilless for container), water and sunshine (ideally, 6 – 8 hours) and seeds. From the windowbox or container on your balcony to conventional sized gardens, we always need to select our seeds or plants carefully to adjust to the growing space.

Some of us start our plants from seed indoors. If so, you will want to read your seed packet carefully and count backwards from the “anticipated” spring frost-free dates to determine when you should start the seeds- whether you will be sowing the seeds directly into the garden or container or starting the seeds indoor.  For Isanti County this date varies from June 11 to May 22nd—depending on whether you’re in the northwestern corner of the county (June 11) to the southeastern corner of the county (May 22).

Here’s a little bit of data to help you determine how much you should plant: Potatoes, 6 plants, 30 pounds; tomatoes, 2 – 5 plants, 60 pounds; cucumbers, 8 plants, 10 pounds; summer squashes, 2 – 3 plants, 60 – 100 squashes.

Before you plant, ask yourself: What do I like to eat?  How much time can I give to tending my garden each week?  How much light do I have?  How much space do I have? How much should I plant?

Whether you’re growing vegetables to economize, eat organic, to enjoy mother earth or  to have bragging rights, enjoy.  Here’s a quote I like by Shaun Kass: “Weeding, waiting and observing are the three chores I do the most while vegetable gardening.”

For more information visit the University of Minnesota Web site or Isanti County Master Gardeners at 763-689-1810.