If you've arrived at this site from People magazine, you probably have an interest in starting a food garden or learning more about how to grow your own food. You may also be wondering what's behind the name "Slow Cook."
I guess you could say I am part of a growing movement in this country that rejects industrialized food in favor of food that is produced more sustainably. That encompasses a lot. It means favoring foods that are grown locally without pesticides and chemical fertilizers and without traveling long distances at the expense of enormous amounts of fossil fuels and carbon emissions. It just so happens that the sustainable foods we prefer--grown in a planet-friendly manner and prepared with loving care--are also tastier and more nutritious. And if you grow them yourself, they're a whole lot cheaper as well.
That makes our approach the opposite of "fast food." And that makes us slow.
Food gardening can be as easy or as difficult as you want to make it. If you are just starting, I suggest you take the easy approach. Don't try to do too much at first. Don't go overboard with many different varieties of things. Stick with the fruits and vegetables your family likes to eat most and learn how to grow those. You can always add things later. Gardening is a never ending learning process, even for people who've been doing it for years. If you have children, you will be creating wonderful memories--and good eating habits--that will last a lifetime.
To get you started, I've assembled links to several other web sites that I think will be helpful. At those sites, you may very well find yet more links. In today's world, gardeners spend quite a lot of time cruising around the internet for ideas and information. We also have a wonderful and vast community of fellow gardeners and cooks to share with. (Who knows? You may end up starting your own blog to memorialize your gardening efforts.) And do feel free to cruise around this website and use the search feature.
If you don't have your own yard to garden in, don't despair. You can grow many things in pots even on an apartment balcony. Perhaps there is a community garden in your area, or maybe you would like to start one. Check with your local parks and recreation authority. With more and more people seeking to join community gardens there are often waiting lists. Some erstwhile gardeners are seeking out vacant lots. Others are enlisting the back yards of neighbors to form communal arrangements. And there is a growing movement to establish gardens in schools, where we can connect kids to nature and teach them the benefits of growing our own food.
You might begin by watching this series of short film clips on how to start a garden. Some other good internet sources include Kitchen Gardeners International, Revive the Victory Garden and Vegetable Gardener. There are also several worthwhile gardening forums at Garden Web where you can pose questions to other gardeners who are only to glad to help.
I've also asked some of my fellow food gardening bloggers to share their thoughts on starting a new garden. Take a look at what Sylvie's doing at Rappahanock Cook & Kitch Gardener, or El at Fast Grow the Weeds, Emily at Eat Close to Home, or Michele at Garden Rant.
There are also many excellent books on the market for gardeners of all levels. In fact, your local librarian may be one of your best sources on the subject. And by all means take a look around your neighborhood for the gardener who quietly grows prize-winning tomatoes. She'll gladly talk your ear off if you introduce yourself. And even if you can't get a plot at the local community garden this year, there's nothing to say you can't hang out there and ask questions.
And for all you established kitchen gardeners and urban farmers and homesteaders with blogs, write up your thoughts on starting a garden and send me an e-mail with a link. I post all the links here for the next week.
Good luck, and happy gardening!
Read more great stories about how were are taking back our food system at Fight Back Fridays.