Starting the Year Off Right

Is one of your New Years' resolutions to eat healthier? To perhaps grow some of your own food? Growing some of your own food is a fun and rewarding task that provides much more than a fresh tasting juicy tomato or some tender green beans. You'll also get outdoors in the sunshine, enjoy the relaxation of some moderate exercise and generally feel good about yourself through growing and nurturing plants from seeds to harvest. And most folks just need a small amount of space to grow. It's amazing how much produce can be grown in an area of just 4' by 20'. Plus you're less likely to get burned out pulling weeds from a small space as opposed to a huge garden.

We have a number of educational opportunities coming up in the next few months for you to brush up on your growing expertise. We've got a full listing of them on our web site- But I thought I'd mention the first, which is a series of webinars you can enjoy from your home or view the archived program at a later date. Starting on Thursday, Jan. 15, at 1pm, and continuing for the next 10 Thursday's is our winter webinar series. These webinars cover many different topics, but all are related to local foods and/or small farms. These programs are designed for both novice and experienced growers. Each program should last about one hour, with plenty of time for questions at the conclusion.

Topics include: notill tomato/peppers; hops production; potatoes; sweet corn; perennial crops; insecticides; blueberries; hydroponics; farmers market displays; record keeping and apple rootstocks. We'll discuss how to grow, considerations for pest management, marketing, variety selection, and more. There is no cost to listen in and they will all be archived for future reference. However, be sure to register on line to receive the link to the archived program.

The sessions are taught by various members of our Local Food Systems/Small Farms Extension team. This is the third year of the webinars. The first two years' topics are archived on our web page. See the above address. Once on our home page, click on the Local Food Systems/Small Farms icon and you'll see the Extension Webinars link. There you can select and view a number of topics that might be of interest to you.

If you can't find the space to locate a garden plot in your back yard, consider utilizing one of the community gardens we offer. We have one at Jackson/Lincoln Pool on south 8th Street and another near QU. Call our office to inquire.

One final note, don't forget the next date for our Winter Farmers' Market is Tuesday, Jan. 20th, 3-5pm, at Grown n Gathered, 729 Hampshire, Quincy. Products available will include: spinach and lettuce, pecans, pickles, beef sticks and jerky, juices/smoothies, jams/jellies and more.