Grow fresh veggies, no backyard needed

Advertisers and numerous sources tell consumers to purchase fresh and locally grown food. There are farmer’s markets and specialty stores located throughout Virginia that serve this exact purpose. It’s considered to be a better value and supports the community. In an age where sustainability has moved from a serious idea to a point of action, it’s time to think outside-the-box. Consumers can take the idea of purchasing locally grown food a step further by growing their own plants, herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Grow herbs in your window. Photo by Creative Commons.

Many students live in apartments or residence halls, and don’t have a backyard and the tools to grow a garden. In today’s technological world, that’s no longer a problem. Growing produce in a small space inside has become a fairly simple task. Farmer’s markets sell packets of a variety of seeds for those who want to stick with the local theme. Seeds and window kits are also available at stores like Lowes and Wal-Mart. The difficulty depends on the plant.

Brittni Hammond, a senior at Radford University majoring in Interior Design, feels that growing fresh herbs is the easiest feat to accomplish.

“Even if you don’t use them for cooking, the smell that fills your room will be worth your efforts,” Hammond said.

Lavender and rosemary are examples of herbs to try. Hammond has grown flowers, herbs, green peppers, cherry tomatoes and strawberries inside her dorm room and townhouse. Her best advice is to follow the directions on the packet.

“The seeds are not difficult to grow, but you have to be willing to keep up with it. It is definitely possible to do,” Hammond said.

She also doesn’t think it’s time consuming because she just has to prune and water the plants on a regular basis. She compared it to a chore like taking out the trash.

To start an inside garden, it’s best to begin with something simple like an inside plant or fresh herbs and work up to something more challenging like peppers or strawberries. With winter on its way, plants need enough sunlight and plenty of water. Most produce also has a peak season in which they normally grow. Information about growing indoor plants is available in books, magazines or online. Some plants need bigger pots, so look into what particular plants will prefer. Cheaper decorative pots can be purchased at discount stores such as Ross and T.J. Maxx. The soil and seeds can also be purchased for a low price and are easy to find.