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Kitchen Garden

Time for Garden Planting

Hardening the Seedlings
Hardening the Seedlings

When the Iowa City Farmers Market opened last year, I offered spring garlic, lettuce and radishes. This year, the cold, wet spring retarded progress in the garden. It has been a season without early produce while adapting to the climate reality.

The only question inhibiting garden planting is when will the last frost come? According to the 30-day forecast, we have had the last frost. If things turn cold, there is a box of old sheets that can be spread over the plants in the garden. It’s time to turn to planting.

The plan for my garden is sketchy at best. A gardener plays a balancing act between planning and doing. Whimsy and experimentation enter into it. Sometimes we do dumb things, and sometimes we reach for brilliance. A gardener’s process isn’t always logical, but it is hard to fail.

A home gardener can rely on the grocery store, and other growers, should something fail to produce. It is a food safety net we take for granted and it makes garden planning an expression of personality more than anything else.

Food is abundant and relatively inexpensive in Iowa. What matters more is the interconnectedness we have with other growers, large scale and small. Such relationships are the true fabric of our food system, and provide comfort and security.

One can accept that Florida, Texas, Mexico and California will continue to provide produce for the Midwest. However, when the quality and quantity of locally grown foods puts price pressure on out of state commodities, local food may gain more traction.

Planting a home garden is an important step in the local food direction.

~Written for Iowa City Patch