Help reduce food waste
Five tips for growing your own food
Growing food helps you understand the challenges of creating a sustainable food system. Begin by finding a community garden, transform your backyard into an urban farm or grow containers of herbs on your balcony.
Start with these five tips:
- Start small.
It can be daunting to start growing food. The key is to start small with a few veggies. You can add growing space over time based on your budget and level of commitment.
- Grow what you like to eat.
Growing food allows you to harvest what you need and reduce food waste. High-returning and easy-to-grow crops include leafy greens like kale, lettuce and spinach. Fresh herbs like basil, rosemary and cilantro are excellent choices for at-home gardens. Homegrown herbs avoid single-use plastic packaging used at stores.
- Learn more.
Take classes, watch helpful videos and read gardening books to educate yourself and gain insight into your area’s unique environmental conditions. Check out these resources that provide gardening workshops and classes:
- ASU Garden Commons: Offers in-person gardening workshops to the ASU community and posts how-to videos on their social media accounts.
- Maricopa County Cooperative Extension: Provides monthly gardening workshops, educational publications and online resources in partnership with the University of Arizona.
- Use a local planting calendar.
The Phoenix metropolitan area makes it possible to grow almost anything, depending on the time of year. The University of Arizona provides a local planting calendar and schedule of what to plant.
- Incorporate sustainable gardening practices.
Take the following actions if growing food becomes a lifestyle:
- Buy locally grown seeds that adapt to the local climate.
- Choose climate-appropriate varieties.
- Grow organically without synthetic fertilizers or pesticides.
- Manage pests by intercropping, promoting beneficial insects and regularly monitoring to prevent infestations.
- Obtain organic compost, make your at-home compost pile.Use water-wise strategies.
- Water plants in the morning, install drip irrigation or use mulch and shade to conserve water.