Busy healthcare professionals such as travel nurses and travel therapists live in places warm enough to harvest delicious, healthy vegetables throughout the calendar year. No matter what month it is, housing locations featuring patios, balconies and sun-drenched lanais—make ideal garden spaces. You can grow and harvest veggies indoors, too; a table or chair situated near a big window works as well!
By following half a dozen easy steps, you can make an attractive produce section “in your own backyard!” Be sure to click the name of a veggie you love, to find a healthy recipe that features it.
- Step One: Locate the sunniest spot in your home, and arrange the containers so that they don’t fall victim to any strong winds. Tomatoes—awesome in all Italian dishes—grow upward and are a great example of a top heavy, wind-prone plant; tether a plant like this to a stake with a little bit of twine.
- Step Two: Invest in a few containers! Pots that are at least 10 inches wide and 12 inches deep make a good guideline; a five gallon container is ideal for eggplant—any smaller than that, and you’ll have to be extra diligent about watering. The containers need to have several holes in the bottom for drainage, and should be a neutral color so they don’t attract too much heat.
- Step 3: Have the right potting soil standing at the ready; a slow release or complete organic fertilizer at planting will keep your vegetables fed the entire growing season (3 months). Mixing in one part compost to two parts potting soil improves fertility. Fill the pot with potting soil first, then 2 to 4 inches of compost, and top that off with more potting soil.
- Step 4: Sew your Seeds Carefully! A great place for inspiration is the grocery store. Radishes, mixed lettuces, broccoli, green beans, tomatoes and kale make for great starter crops, especially when placed in a part of the house or patio that gets 8 hours or more of sunlight each day. Mint, sage, rosemary, basil and thyme are the easiest herbs to grow in containers.
- Step Five: Plant it! Dig your hole and put in just one plant, watering it as soon as the hole is filled in; this guides any air bubbles out of the potting mix so they grow better. When you cover the plant, don’t level it quite as high as the rest of the potting mix. A good rule of thumb is planting a minimum of 10 inches deep and no more than 15 inches apart if you are potting more than one plant at a time.
- Step 6: Water it! Stick your finger in the dirt to monitor the soil’s level of moisture; if it feels too dry to you, give the plant some H2O. In sunny spots and when it’s hot out, plants should be watered up to 4 times a day; a veggie fertilizer is recommended—just follow package instructions throughout the growing season.
When You Grow Your Own Food, Every Day is Earth Day!
Healthy lifestyles beget healthy careers, and growing your own food is a great way to start! Eating plenty of servings a day of local vegetables—and it doesn’t get any more local than your own travel nurse housing—is great for more than just your body; it’s great for the environment too!
Footnote: information for this article was taken from About.com’s gardening tips.