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Healthy Eating: Grow Your Own Vegetables

Nothing is more delicious than fresh produce you’ve grown in your own backyard. With a little time and very little or no money, you can grow your own vegetables at home and it’s a fun project for the entire family. No shopping, just picking and enjoying. Growing your own garden may seem daunting, but our experts have some basic advice to get you started:


  1. Cool season seeds that should be started in March include: carrots, kohlrabi, lettuce, onion, green peas, radish, spinach, turnips, and corn (late March).  Warm season seed planting includes lima beans, green beans, cucumber, okra, summer squash, and watermelon in April. Seedlings should not be planted outside until mid to late April. 
  2. There’s no need to worry about space for a garden. Almost any vegetable that will grow in a typical backyard garden will also do well in a container. Depending on the plant, the container will generally need to be 12-14 inches deep.  
  3. Start seedlings inside for 6-8 weeks in containers 2 to 3 inches wide and deep, such as peat pots. Peat pots are easy, cheap and can be transferred directly to larger containers or the ground without disturbing the roots. Follow the directions on the pots and seed packet and use potting soil for vegetables. Seed pots should be placed in a clear plastic bag or covered with plastic wrap and placed in a warm place away from sunlight until they sprout. Once they sprout in about 10-14 days, place them in a sunny window and keep the soil moist to the touch. After they develop their first two to three leaves, they can be transplanted to their final container or the ground. Almost any type of container can be used for growing vegetables provided they have holes in the bottom for drainage. 
  4. Once you have plenty of vegetables, it’s time to eat! Use them in spaghetti sauces or as pizza toppings; use crunchy vegetables instead of chips with dips; or roast or steam them for healthy side dishes.                                               


For more information about growing vegetables, contact the local OSU extension office at 918-746-7300 or 918-746-7301. The Internet is another great resource for gardening and cooking too. Wishing you and your family a healthy, successful season from seed to table.

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