How to Get the Freshest Vegetables and Eggs

Growing concerns of health and sources of food are pushing us to shop for fresh local groceries. However, aside from going to the farmer’s market, you can also plant your own produce or raise some chickens in your backyard. Fresh food can be literally, steps away from your kitchen!

Vegetable garden

The People's Garden at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Washington D.C., on Thursday, March 17, 2011. Volunteer executive master gardeners pitch in several times a week, at various times of the day (before or after work hours, or during lunchtime) to weed, mulch, plant, water and what ever it takes to grow a wide variety of produce. Although a few are ornamental, most are destined for charity kitchens. Located on the corner of Jefferson Dr. SW and 12th St. SW, people often stop to ask questions about the garden. Part of the volunteersÕ training is to be a spokes person for the People's Garden Initiative, an effort by the USDA that challenges its employees to establish People's Gardens at USDA facilities worldwide or help communities create gardens. People's Gardens vary in size and type, but all have a common purpose - to help the community they're within and the environment. USDA photo by Lance Cheung

Planting vegetables is not rocket science. You just need a balanced loamy soil with over 6 hours of sunlight, give it some love, water, and time, and your salad will grow!

For beginners, you should start small. Green beans, herbs, peppers, sugar, snap peas, tomatoes radishes, and carrots are some of the easiest plants to grow in Arizona.

If you have no land/space in your backyard, plants can often times be planted indoors with adequate sunlight. In fact, microgreen, which looks like tiny baby veggies used in restaurants as garnish), can be easily planted indoor and harvested in 2-3 weeks!

How to grow microgreens

10 Steps to a successful vegetable garden 

Raising Chickens

Chickens are great household companions! They lay eggs and eat food scrapes. (Plus, baby chicks are adorable.)

According to Phoenix Ordinance G-6139 8-7, you are allowed to keep chickens at your residences as long as there are less than 20 chickens (no rooster(s)), and they are kept in an enclosure that is at least 80 feet from a residence (or a written permission from each residence is needed within the 80 feet range). Read the official rules.

Uses of chicken:

  •      FRESH EGGS
  •      Chemical free pest and weed control
  •      Organic fertilizer
  •      Food waste reducer

If you are interested in raising chickens, read How to raise chickens

Getting fresh ingredients does not need to break your bank. By planting and raising you own food, you are greatly reducing your carbon footprint and better improving your diet.

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