Did you know that you can use your FNS/SNAP benefits to purchase seeds and plants to grow food? Growing your own food is a great way to make your FNS/SNAP benefits last longer. It’s estimated the $1 spent on seeds and fertilizer can produce an average of $25 worth of produce in your home garden!
Spring is the perfect time to start planting warm-weather crops that you can enjoy throughout the summer. Some plants that grow well this time of year include:
- Summer Squash
Many people don’t think they have enough space to garden, but you can feed a family with as little as 25 square feet. If you live in a condo or apartment, try planning a container garden on your patio. Plants that grow well in a container include bell peppers, summer squash, and lettuce. Be creative when thinking about planters. An unused round charcoal grill can make an attractive planter. And, smaller variety plants such as strawberries and cherry tomatoes have been known to flourish in hanging planters. Looking around your home with an eye toward planting might reveal some surprising and pleasing ideas for garden space.
If starting a garden seems intimidating, the North Carolina Cooperative Extension has the resources you need to get started. The Be Healthy: Grow What You Eat guide has tips on selecting a spot for your garden, plants to grow in containers, and more. Here are a few North Carolina Cooperative Extension resources to help you get that green thumb you’ve always wanted.
- Be Healthy: Grow What you Eat http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/extgardener/fruitsveggies.pdf
- Home Vegetable Gardening http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/hil/pdf/ag-06.pdf
- Vegetable Planting Guide: Spring http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/quickref/vegetable/plantingguide.html
Photo Credit: ww.sxc.hu Image ID: 518256 and 1059133
 Salzman, Nikki. Using SNAP Benefits to Grow Your Own Food. Retrieved March 18, 2013 from http://blogs.usda.gov/2011/07/06/using-snap-benefits-to-grow-your-own-food/.
 Albertson, A., Neill, K., & Revels, E. Be Healthy – Grow What You Eat. Retrieved March 18, 2013 from http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/extgardener/fruitsveggies.pdf.