6 www.alliancecom.net From Farm to Table in Your Own Backyard Eating produce you grow yourself brings a whole new level of enjoyment to meals due to the pride of accomplishment, freshness, and convenience of shopping in your own backyard. Look around these sites and get a taste of what’s possible in vegetable gardening. Better Homes & Gardens bhg.com/gardening/vegetable/ vegetables/planning-your-first- vegetable-garden This detailed article presents essential steps for starting your first garden. The practical tips include starting small, growing what you like to eat, and planning your garden in advance. Don’t forget to check out the helpful video about the best places online to buy seeds. Skippy’s Vegetable Garden skippysgarden.com This online journal tracks many activities and helpful hints from gardener Kathy Martin and her helper/dog, Skippy. Especially useful are the garden diagrams, planting schedules, and variety lists. You’ll also find links to download Skippy’s vegetable planting calendar app. Herb Expert herbexpert.co.uk This site is mostly about herbs—how to cook with, grow, and harvest them. But it also includes a helpful section about vegetables, especially specific kinds like nightshades, legumes, and root veggies. After you explore the site, take the vegetable expert quiz to see how much you’ve learned. The Spruce – Gardening Basics thespruce.com/ gardening-basics-4127766 In this website section, you’ll find articles on growing your own veggies in helpful categories like garden tasks and gardening by region. Topics include fertilizer, soil, seed storage, and how to start a garden from scratch. Harvest to Table harvesttotable.com This site is literally an A to Z of how to grow specific vegetables, fruits, and herbs. Click in one of those sections and you’ll find a listing of many you probably have on your list and others you’ve never heard of. Also check out the sections on harvesting and cooking. Start Your Garden Early in the Year While it’s easy to go to a nursery in the springtime and buy all the vegetables you want to plant in your garden, it can be more rewarding to grow those plants from seed. Here are the steps to take: 1. Gather seedling trays, soil mix, grow lights, spray bottle, labels, and seeds. 2. Plant the seeds in the soil in the seedling trays. It’s important to plant at the right time, so check the seed package or ask a nursery gardener when to plant each variety. Insert labels so you know what’s growing where. 3. Place the trays under your lights, or near a sunny window. 4. Spray the trays just enough to keep the soil moist. When the plants start to grow, use a watering can. 5. In the spring, gently remove them and plant them in your outdoor garden.