Have you been thinking about gardening but just never got started? Here are a few of the reasons I do it and the benefits I have encountered. This list will vary from person to person.
- Gardening can be SO much more than just a way to save money! It puts Quality food on your table, food that REALLY does taste better than what you buy in the stores.
- You do not have to worry about what chemicals were sprayed on them in the fields to fight off insects or to keep them fresh longer once they are harvested.
- My bunnies LOVE when they get the tops off my carrots, beets & lettuce and even an occasional cucumber as a treat. Of course they don't mind the grapes or the strawberries either!
- Gardening is and should be a family affair! Children love to help, they get a deep satisfaction to watch what they have sown with their little hands come to life, they even have more fun when it is time to harvest. This is a life long learning skill for them, one they will share with others.
- Do you really want to do something about world hunger problems? What better way than to get a couple of packs of seeds and then show people how to plant and grow their own food. Let's face it, if you are on public assistance you do not get enough money to buy quality food for the month AND the fresh fruits and vegetables that you need are often just to EXPENSIVE.
- You can grow a LOT of food in a very limited space! I often hear people say, "I live in a neighborhood and do not have much yard, I wished I lived in the country like you" Honestly you can work with what you have! There are so many options, raised beds that are stepped up for a large variety in a small space, 5 gallon buckets for Tomatoes & Potatoes, Hanging planters and sunny window sills. You are only limited by your creativity. Check out some gardening websites, blogs and home improvement stores. See what idea's you can come up with :)
- I actively try to learn how to start from seeds from my previous crop or propagate my existing plants into my next crop. Every new success I have saves me money on not having to buy plants for my next season of growing. I have copied below (bottom of page) for you a comprehensive list from the Clemson Extension (for all you tiger fans) of the planting guidelines for the SC area. Other zones will have to adjust the starting time.
- Here is what I currently have growing in my fall to winter and will plant some more soon.
- Cucumbers (2nd Crop) - I just pulled these up
- Peppers - Green & Red Bell, Hot (cayenne, jalapeno and Tabasco) * These will keep on growing until you pull them up! I have literally taken mine up at Christmas time, still blooming so I could get my bed ready for my early spring planting..... I may just leave them all winter this year and see what they do!
- Potatoes - Red, White and Sweet (2nd Crop) - If you have never grown sweet potatoes are YOU in for a treat! They grow as a vine, under the plant you will get 5-6 potatoes, and as the vine grows and re-roots in the dirt it forms another complete set. Give these plants LOTS of room in well tilled soil to maximize your harvest!
- Squash - Yellow Crook neck - they are thriving in this cooler weather
- Tomatoes (2nd Crop) * I intend to keep at least a couple of my plants growing inside this winter to use as my starter / propagating mothers for next years plants. Keep an eye out for frost, the plants will keep on producing unless you reach a point where you have several very cold nights in a row. Check out my post about how to start your own plants HERE if you keep only 1 plant going in your house over the winter it could save you from having to buy the plants next spring :)
As a side note on my fall and winter garden, the maintenance is much lower than my summer garden. With cooler temps the soil is not so quick to loose its moisture so I have to water less.
2For longer harvest season, plant at intervals during suggested dates.
3Seed potatoes for July planting and fall harvest may have to be mailed-ordered (usually unavailable from local garden supply stores).
Late Mar. (crowns)
Early March. (crowns)
Late Feb. (crowns)
|Beans, Snap||Apr. 15-30||Aug. 1-15||Apr. 1-15||Aug. 5-20||Mar. 15-30||Aug. 15-30|
|Beans, Pole||Apr. 15-30||July 15-25||Apr. 5-20||July 20-30||Mar. 20-30||Aug. 1-10|
|Beans, Half-runner||Apr. 15-30||Aug. 1-15||Apr. 1-15||Aug. 5-20||Mar. 15-30||Aug. 15-30|
|Beans, Lima||May 1-15||July 1-15||Apr. 5-20||July 20-30||Mar. 20-30||Aug. 1-10|
|Beans, Pole Lima||May 1-15||July 1-15||Apr. 5-30||July 15-20||Mar. 20-|
|Beans, Edible Soy||May 10-|
|Beets||March 1-30||Aug. 1-15||Feb. 1-28||Aug. 1-20||Dec. 15-|
|Broccoli1||Mar. 1-15||July 1-30||Feb. 20-|
|Brussels Sprouts||—||July 15-|
|—||Aug. 1-15||—||Aug. 1-15|
|July 1-30||Jan. 15-|
|Cantaloupe & Honeydew||Apr. 15-|
|June 15-30||Apr. 1-15||—||Mar. 10-|
|Carrots||Mar. 1-15||July 1-30||Feb. 10-28||Aug. 1-15||Dec. 15-|
|Cauliflower1||Mar. 1-15||July 1-15||—||July 25-|
|July 1-15||Apr. 1-15||Aug. 1-10||Mar. 20-30||Aug. 1-20|
|Eggplant1||May 1-15||July 1-15||Apr. 10-25||July 10-20||Mar. 25-Apr.10||July 20-25|
|Lettuce||Mar. 1-15||Aug. 15-25||Feb. 1-28||Aug. 15-25||Dec. 20-|
|Onion, Sets||Mar. 1-30||Sept. 1-|
|Onion, Plants||Mar. 1-30||—||Feb. 15-|
|Onion, Seeds||—||—||—||Sept. 15-|
|Okra||May 1-15||June 15-30||Apr. 10-30||June 15-30||Apr. 1-20||June 15-|
|Peanuts||May 1-15||—||Apr. 15-|
|Peas, Garden||Feb. 1-15||—||Jan. 20-30||—||Jan. 10-20||—|
|Peas, Southern||May 1-|
|—||Apr. 10-30||June 20-30||Mar. 25-|
|Pepper1||May 1-30||July 20-25||Apr. 5-25||July 15-25||Mar. 25-|
|Potatoes, Irish||Mar. 15-30||July 1-153||Feb. 20-|
|July 15-303||Feb. 1-15||July 15-303|
|Potatoes, Sweet||May 10-|
|Pumpkins||—||June 1-15||—||June 15-30||—||July 1-15|
|Sept. 1-30||Feb. 1-28||Sept. 1-|
|Jan. 1-Mar. 1||Sept. 1-|
|Rutabaga||—||Aug. 1-20||—||July 25-|
|Sept. 15-30||Feb. 1-28||Sept. 15-|
|Sweet Corn2||Apr. 15-30||—||Mar. 20-|
|Squash, Summer||Apr. 15-|
|July 1-20||Apr. 1-20||Aug. 1-15||Mar. 20-|
|Squash, Winter||Apr. 20-|
|—||Apr. 15-30||—||Mar. 20-|
|July 10-20||Apr. 5-25||July 10-20||Mar. 25-|
|Sept. 1-15||Feb. 1-|
|Aug. 1-Oct. 1||Jan. 1-Mar. 1||Aug. 25-|
|—||Apr. 1-30||June 15-30||Mar. 25-|