Experiment With Growing Food

Posted on Categories:Best of, Local
Experiment with new plant like this Cinnamon Basil Plant


Grow Your Own Food Part 3: Experiment

1. New Growing Methods

Have you ever driven by a farm and wondered what the caterpillar looking tunnel was? Maybe you saw an interesting container and thought about trying to grow your favorite tomato variety in it next season. Experimenting with new growing methods is a fantastic way to broaden your skill base and gain confidence in growing food.

Examples of growing methods to experiment with:

  1. Container gardening with grow bags
  2. Raised beds
  3. Aquaponic and Hydroponic growing

2. Lengthening The Growing Season

The running joke in Minnesota is “There are two seasons—winter and road construction”. All jokes aside, the opportunity to grow food during the Minnesota summer can be ridiculously short. We’re in zone 4b which means there are roughly 150-ish frost-free days during the growing season. This means, most heat-loving plants have to be started indoors and transplanted outdoors like hot peppers which sometimes require 120+ days to mature fully. There are ways to extend the season here in Minnesota. Starting seeds indoors is one method. By experimenting with this method or others, you can lengthen your growing season even in a colder environment like Minnesota.

Examples of season-lengthening methods:

  1. Cold Frame (insulated wood box with glass on top)
  2. Hoop house ( caterpillar tunnel)
  3. Green house or hot house

3. Controls for pests and diseases

Growing food can feel liberating but can also feel gut wrenching. All the hard work put into a garden can be undone quickly by little insects who seem to think they deserve to eat your plants more than you. Heard of aphids or Japanese beetles? These are just a couple of insect species that can cause major damage in an edible garden if left unchecked.

There is hope though! Insects like these can motivate you to experiment with different methods for controlling these pesky insects. We are partial to mechanical barriers for controlling insects at our plant nursery. Floating row covers are one such barrier that masks and maintains a physical barrier denying access by many insects and pests.

Examples of pest controls to experiment with:

  1. floating row covers for insects
  2. chicken wire for dogs and bunnies
  3. sticky traps and galvanized steel hardware cloth for mice

Final Thoughts

Experimenting is one of the best parts of growing food. What will your try experimenting with this growing season?

MEG’s Edible Landscapes

MEG is continuing to add new and exciting products to the lineup every year. This year, we’re adding more than half a dozen new hot and mild pepper varieties alone plus special projects like Operation Cup of Joe!

Have you checked MEG’s new CSA starting this Spring? We had requests for CSA memberships last year and thought “why not”? It’s a brilliant idea coupled with MEG’s tried and true method using grow bags. Our automated watering system is complimentary to each CSA package this year too! No more worrying about watering plants. We’re taking that chore off your plate. Check out the basic membership here. Don’t delay, we only have 20 CSA memberships available for 2023!

Keep growing!


MEG’s Dad and Founder