Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kitchen Garden: Grow Your Own - Interview on healthy eating with the Asbury Park Press

Here is a copy of an interview with me, written by Laura Martin, from the Garden State's Asbury Park Press.

The print version has a number of delicious, healthy, fruits and vegetable and how-to hands-on gardening images. 

The online version has a few too.

Here is the link to the full story.  

I pasted a copy of news below.

Laura is a great writer - and captured the excitement of growing your own food. 

Thank you so much, Laura.

Enjoy the story and then get out there and start growing your own kitchen garden! 

Kitchen garden: grow your own
Now is the time to start growing your healthy lifestyle at home
Looking to eat better? It is time to embrace the “garden” part of living in the Garden State, says Leeann Lavin of Atlantic Highlands.
“New Jersey’s corn, blueberries, tomatoes, peaches and cherries are famous all over the culinary world,” says Lavin, who owns the garden-design company Duchess Designs. “It is called the Garden State for a reason, and we’ve gotten too far away from that.”
It is simple, convenient and healthy to grow fruits and vegetables right in the backyard, says Lavin, also a resident of New York. Lavin recently published the book “The Hamptons & Long Island Homegrown Cookbook,” which highlights the connections between the dining, gardening and farming industries.
“The biggest reason to (grow an edible garden) is taste. Most foods sold in stores are grown for transport, not taste,” Lavin says. “Plus, there is an excitement and thrill in growing your own food. It can be very empowering.”
Want to give it a shot? Lavin shares her tips for creating a “kitchen garden” that can provide fun and food for the whole family.
What to start with: New Jersey has great soil for growing a variety of fruits, vegetables and herbs, she says. Radishes, peppers and peas are easy-to-grow spring edible plants, while tomatoes, lettuce, corn, peppers, melons and berries work great in the summer, she says. For those planting right now, it is best to start with container gardening inside, then transfer the plants outside after Mother’s Day (May 12).
No yard needed: For people who live in an urban environment or those looking for a simpler way to grow food, container gardening during any season can work great for vegetables, fruits and herbs, Lavin says.
Get the family involved: Giving the garden a fun food theme like “pizza,” will get kids excited to help out, she says. A pizza garden could feature garlic, tomatoes, oregano and basil.
“Children love to get their hands in the soil,” Lavin says. “It is a great way for parents and grandparents to engage with the child. They learn a lifetime of healthier eating knowing where their food comes from.”
Try new things: Many beginner gardeners mistakenly believe they don’t have the space for the items they want to grow, she says. But many fruits and vegetables come in multiple sizes and varieties.
“Look at seed catalogs,” Lavin says. “A garden store may only have one kind of tomato that is too big for your garden, but if you check with a seed company or online, the varieties are limitless.”
Stay local: Plants grown locally will flourish better, says Lavin, and they have a smaller carbon footprint. If you are buying a plant, ask where it is grown,” she says.
Ward off animals: Critters may be tempted to chow down on an edible garden, so consider putting a small fence around it or installing a sprinkler that is motion activated. Mirrored pinwheels placed around the garden also can scare away animals looking to eat plants.
Just try it: “When people look at gardening, they have a fear of it because they are afraid they will mess up, but when you see that first seedling come up, there is such a joy in it,” Lavin says.


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