The free, downloadable guide Growing Food in the City (PDF) from the City of Seattle is available in 18 languages. You can grow healthy food for your family, share the learning with children and neighbors, and have fun growing some of your own food. The Growing Food in the City guide will especially help beginning gardeners to start gardening, but also helps experienced gardeners to learn more about growing food to eat.
To be successful, plan your vegetable garden before you buy seeds or starts (small plants in pots). Where you put your garden is the most important factor. A spot in full sunlight is the best. A good vegetable garden must have at least six hours of full sun each day in order for your food crops to mature properly. Other factors to consider are available water, soil quality and drainage, and shade from buildings or trees.
Here’s a sample of the information in the Growing Food guide:
- How to choose the best location for gardening
- How to prepare garden soil with organic compost
- What to plant and when to plant for best results
- How to plant for a longer, bigger harvests of food
- How to garden year-round in the Pacific Northwest climate
- How to store and share your harvest
What grows best? Popular vegetables in Seattle vegetable gardens that are also easy to grow include greens of all types (lettuces, arugula, Swiss chard, mustard greens, kale, spinach), broccoli, leeks and green onions, green beans, snow peas, cherry tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, potatoes, garlic, and herbs. For fruits, look to strawberries and melon varieties for the Pacific Northwest climate.
If you’re thinking about growing food next to a street, see Growing Food in Planting Strips (along a city street), to learn about soil safety and other considerations. Find still more information at http://www.seattle.gov/util/environmentconservation/mylawngarden/foodgardening/. Two other helpful resources are Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades by Steve Solomon (available at public libraries), and Seattle Tilth Alliance.
Starting a vegetable garden at home is an easy way to save money. One $2 vegetable start or packet of seeds can easily provide you with many, many pounds of produce over the course of a season. Planting a garden with vegetables also gives you the pleasure of savoring a delicious, food fresh from your garden.