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grow local tips

Whether it is joining a community garden, growing in your own home garden or even balcony or container planting, this page is dedicated to highlighting the many opportunities, resources and tips to help you have a local green thumb.

  • vertical gardeningKitchen Gardens (aka victory, backyard, or rooftop gardens)
  • Container Gardens (aka balcony or rooftop gardens)
  • Vertical Gardens – perpendicular hydroponic systems that maximize the use of space for growing a variety of beneficial plants. These unique growing systems come in three basic forms: tubes, coconut-cylinders or walls. All are designed to be easily moved indoors or outdoors as desired. Learn more here.
  • Permaculture Landscaping – a practical design philosophy guided by its own set of ethics and aimed at creating sustainable living environments to meet human needs while treading lightly on the earth.


garden layout


The SeedMoney Garden Planner provides helpful information on how to plan a great vegetable garden here.



nasturtiumWhen planning at the beginning of each season make sure to leave space to include companion plants to help avoid the pesky pests that like certain vegetables and to avoid future problems.

This resource chart provides information such as: plant snap dragons, cosmos or basil around sweet pepper and eggplant; plant cilantro around salad greens; plant radishes, marigolds or nasturtium around cucumbers; and plant borage around tomatoes.


three sistersBy Heather Rhoades

One of the best ways to get children interested in history is to bring it into the present. When teaching children about Native Americans in U.S. history, an excellent project is to grow the three Native American sisters – beans, corn and squash.

When you plant a three sisters garden, you help to bring an ancient culture to life. Let’s look at growing corn with squash and beans...

Read more here


Thank you to Foodshare from which the helpful information below has been extracted:

Seed Starting

planting seeds2Here are a few tips for starting vegetable and herb seeds indoors. By starting your own seedlings you can save money and be sure that your plants are raised without pesticides or chemical fertilizers. And, most importantly, you can get a head start on the joys of gardening by watching your seedlings grow while there is still snow on the ground!

Starting Seeds Indoors

Some of the materials you will need to start your plants indoors are:

  • seeds
  • containers
  • a potting soil mix
  • a bit of time
  • water

You will also need a sunny area in your house or an appropriate artificial light source.

Potting Mixes

A number of good commercial potting mixes are available or you can make your own. The following is one suggestion for a homemade potting mix (there are many other possibilities):

  • one part finished compost
  • one part loose garden soil or potting soil
  • one part coarse sand

There are other materials, such as vermiculite, peat moss and perlite, which can also be added to the potting mix, although they are not essential. They hold water well and make the mix more light and spongy, thus providing ideal conditions for the germination of seeds. You can buy them at your local nursery and experiment with adding different amounts to the mix.

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Soil preparation: Garlic will tolerate some shade but prefers full sun, and responds best in well-drained, rich, loamy soil amended with lots of organic matter. Raised beds are ideal, except in very dry regions.

Planting: To grow garlic, you plant the cloves which each will produce a new bulb. The largest cloves generally yield the biggest bulbs. To get the cloves off to a strong start and protect them from fungal diseases, soak them in a jar of water containing one heaping tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of liquid seaweed for a few hours before planting. Plant garlic in the fall.

Spacing: Place cloves in a hole or furrow with the flat or root end down and pointed end up, with each tip 2 inches beneath the soil. Set the cloves about 6 to 8 inches apart. Top the soil with 6 inches of mulch, such as straw or dried grass clippings mixed with leaves. They stop growing during winter, then start again in spring. Leave the mulch in place into spring; it conserves moisture and suppresses weeds...

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The hardiest of the cabbage family crops...

brussels sproutsBrussels sprout plants take up a fair amount of space, but the reward is a bountiful harvest of tasty sprouts. The sprouts, which look like mini cabbages, form along the 2- to 3-foot stems under umbrella-like foliage, and need up to 100 days to mature.

Planting:  The hardiest cabbage-family crop, Brussels sprouts survive freezing temperatures better than hot spells. Time your plantings so that overnight fall frosts will bring out the sprouts' sweetness. You'll find that you'll plant this crop quite late, after you've set out warm-season crops like peppers and squash. To determine the timing of planting, count back the number of days to maturity from your first fall frost—that's the date to set transplants in the garden. In mild-winter areas, time the crop for a winter-to-spring harvest.

Starting from seeds (indoors or out):  Sow seeds 1/2 inch deep. When seedlings are 5 to 7 inches tall, space or thin them to 2 feet apart. Set transplants deeper than they grew originally, with the lowest leaves just above the soil. Firm the ground around the plants, and water well.

Growing guidelines:  Mulch to retain soil moisture, and hand pull any weeds to avoid damaging the shallow roots of the sprout plants. Foliar feed lightly once or twice a month with compost tea or seaweed extract. Stake in areas with strong winds. The leaves will turn yellow as sprouts mature; remove these leaves as they fade to give sprouts room to develop.

Harvesting:  Small sprouts (about 1-inch diameter) are the most tender. Harvest them as they mature from the bottom of the stalk upward. Remove sprouts by twisting them from the stem. Pinching off the plant tops forces sprouts to mature faster. Just before a severe freeze, uproot the plants, remove any remaining leaves, and hang the "logs" upside down in a cool place for a few more weeks of harvesting.