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Urban gardening in D.C.

Organic vegetables and farmer’s markets are rapidly becoming popular among health conscious consumers. Eating local produce is also becoming a mainstream movement.

Having an urban garden right in the middle of metro D.C. may seem an unaffordable extravagance and a major chore but it’s actually quite easy. And homegrown vegetables from your own garden ensure you never have to worry about pesticide on your lettuce or running out of cilantro on taco night.

Use your yard

If you have a small yard and don’t want to do the digging, a landscaper will likely be happy to turn up the soil for you. A decent garden requires far less space than you might think. If you tend to worry about aesthetics, a garden can actually work as a lovely decorative accent to your yard.

Local seed suppliers are usually able to handle requests for any seeds you may need. Seed packets will have planting instructions printed on them and planting is simple.

Get Creative

If you don’t have a yard or small lawn, don’t worry. Flowerbed areas can be ideal for gardening. If you are focused on growing fresh herbs like basil, rosemary and cilantro rather than root vegetables, flower beds are actually perfect.

Many lettuce varieties don’t require much space either because they grow so rapidly that even constant clipping for a family’s consumption often won’t outpace growth. This means you won’t need as much space as you think for many lettuce varieties. A professional can construct you the appropriate size bed needed for a raised garden, or help frame a garden in the ground.

Small spaces work too

Living in an apartment or townhome doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden. You’re in luck as long as you have a balcony or patio with access to sunshine. You’ll just need to buy some garden boxes built out of lumber and fill them with good topsoil. A local carpenter should be able to do it in a snap.

Experiment

Once you have your urban garden ready to plant, consider expanding your vegetable comfort zone. Certain vegetables you disliked as a child or still think you don’t like as an adult may be getting a bad rap. Vegetables that are shipped for long distances from faraway places are picked long before they’re ripe. This may mean that you’ve never actually even eaten a good representation of the real thing.

And if you don’t think you like spinach because of a traumatic experience with the slimy canned variety in elementary school, you’ll want to give fresh spinach another try. Folks who have never eaten wonderful ripe juicy heirloom tomatoes right from the garden will never want to go back to the hard pink grocery store tomatoes again.


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