Gardens can help stretch family food budgets

Gardens can help stretch family food budgets A garden with a broad range of vegetables can save families money, even if they have never gardened before, a South Dakota State University specialist said. â�?�?All that is needed is a space with a minimum of six to eight hours of sunlight per day,â�? SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist Rhoda Burrows said. â�?�?A single container garden can provide fresh salad greens or tomatoes, while a raised bed can allow those who have difficulty bending or stooping to share in the benefits of growing their own food.â�? Burrows said a conservative estimate of a diverse garden of vegetables can yield about $70 worth of vegetables per 100-square feet. In addition, gardening is good exercise, and it can be a way to help children appreciate nature and healthy food. â�?�?Itâ�?�?s not too late to start a garden this year, and your local cooperative Extension office can help you,â�? Burrows said. â�?�?Warm-season crops like tomatoes, beans, and peppers should not be planted until mid-May, so there is time.â�? Newcomers to gardening can get help through their county Extension offices. â�?�?Your local cooperative extension office can help provide you with information on starting and growing gardens,â�? said Burrows. â�?�?Publications such as â�?�?Vegetable Gardening,â�?�? â�?�?Growing Tomatoes in the Home Garden,â�?�? â�?�?Growing Asparagusâ�?�? and â�?�?Choosing Vegetable Varieties for South Dakotaâ�?�? are helpful.â�? Extension offices also have fruit publications such as â�?�?Fruit Varieties for South Dakota,â�? â�?�?Strawberries,â�? â�?�?Grapes for South Dakota,â�? and â�?�?Raspberries.â�? These publications also are available on the Internet at http://sdces.sdstate.edu. Click on â�?�?Publicationsâ�? and then the â�?�?Lawn/Gardenâ�? choice to view a complete list of materials available. For gardeners who seek more intensive training, the Master Gardener courses offer it. â�?�?The classes have started in Rapid City, Huron, and Aberdeen, but the Sioux Falls session starts May 16,â�? she said. â�?�?In addition, trained Master Gardener volunteers also are available across the state to help newcomers to gardening.â�? Contact your local cooperative Extension office for more information, or visit the national Extension Web site, www.extension.org.

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