Gardening experts plant some seeds and folks eat it up (Google / mySAnews)

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Gardening experts plant some seeds and folks eat it up

Jerry Needham – Express-News

More people are growing their own fresh produce or buying from those who do, and the message from a panel of gardening experts Sunday was that you could do it, too.

Hometown Grown: Reaping the Local Harvest was the topic of a panel of experts who spoke to about 200 people at the three-hour event at the Windcrest Civic Center on Sunday afternoon.

“I’m here to learn some gardening,” said Maria R. Ramirez, 71, a retiree who lives on the East Side.

Ramirez said her family grew up on a farm in Pearsall. “We had watermelons and potatoes and onions and everything, but that’s totally different than growing your own little home garden,” she said.

Now, she said she would start with container growing and then graduate to a spot in her yard.

“I want to grow tomatoes first,” said Ramirez, who was at the event with her sister-in-law, Lydia Ramirez. “Now that food’s so expensive, we need to do something, especially the senior citizens.”

Called the “slow food” movement, the method advocated by the panel gets away from the mass-produced and often processed foods that are shipped long distances to consumers and focuses on buying local, in-season produce or simply growing it in your back yard.

Malcolm Beck, a longtime organic gardener and founder of the organic gardening center Garden-Ville, said healthy produce starts with healthy soil.

“Your plant’s only as good as your soil,” he said, adding that the first step in growing in the ground is to have the soil’s mineral content tested and then balanced. The second step is to build the soil’s organic content as high as possible, he said.

Other advice from the panel, which was moderated by a representative of the Green Spaces Alliance, included selection of the proper seeds, careful and efficient watering practices, and the use of beneficial insects and control of harmful ones.

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Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.