EVERY TIME we bite into a fresh-picked strawberry or slice up a homegrown tomato and savor the vibrant taste we rarely experience at the grocery store, we renew our vow to grow our own produce. But then another summer passes with us making trips to the farmer's market instead of the backyard or windowsill. This time it's going to be different. We asked the experts for some guidance and were surprised to learn how easy it is.
First of all, you don't need gardening experience—or even a garden. All you need is a sunny windowsill or a small space on your balcony or in your yard (many herbs and leafy greens need only six inches of depth). Then you plant a few of your favorite foods in pots of store-bought organic soft or dirt from your yard.
The benefits go beyond tasty food and a rewarding sense of accomplishment. "Growing your own food is as local as it gets," says Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto (Penguin Press, 2008), who grows things like carrots, potatoes, and kale with his family in a small garden at their Berkeley, Calif., home. "It goes from the soil to your plate with no carbon emissions or unnatural pesticides and fertilizers." Plus, produce flesh off the plant contains the highest levels of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. (Nutrients start to diminish at the moment of picking.)
Pick up a trowel and some potting soil and get ready to create your own farmer's market.