Have you ever had a caprese salad with home-grown tomatoes and freshly picked basil? I recently had one and was inspired to plant a small vegetable garden of my own. About 43 million US households have edible gardens. In addition to convenience, you’ll always have organic, produce on-hand to enjoy in salads, on the grill, or as a healthy snack. Also, have you noticed how much better home-grown fruits and vegetables taste?
The most important factor for flourishing veggies, however, is sunlight. If you grow it for the fruit or the root, you need full sun; if you grow it for the leaves or stems or sprouts, partial shade is all you need. Sunset Magazine offers a helpful resource to determine which plants will do best in your yard and climate and where in your yard your garden will be best suited.
Tomatoes are the most popular food grown in edible gardens, followed by cucumbers and sweet peppers. This may be because they are among the easiest vegetables to grow – or because they’re simply delicious and perfect for adding some extra vitamins and nutrients into daily meals. Gardening beginners may want to keep the plant count to a minimum and purchase plants that have already sprouted (some of these are already bearing fruit!) from a local nursery. Also, consider planting a few herbs which help veggies thrive by depositing nutrients in the soil, as well as supplementing your spice rack.
Planting Your Garden
Include your family or invite some friends over to help out with this part of the process. Working together creates memories and deepens relationships – just be sure to repay them come harvest time.
By following the directions on each plant or seed package, you can have your garden in the ground and be ready to sit back and watch it grow with a glass of lemonade in what seems like no-time.
Caring for Your Garden
Caring and nurturing living plants can be rewarding, not only through the delicious results, but through the extra time to peacefully reflect on your day – much like the renewing effect of time spent in the hot tub. Gardening doesn’t have to require a large time commitment; here are a few shortcuts and quick tips to a low-maintenance garden:
- Gather crushed eggshells and scatter them around the soil near your garden to naturally deter pests
- Create dirt rings around your plants to keep water where you put it
- Rotate in the use of liquid fertilizers as they promote the budding of fruit as well as help to deter bugs
- Spread mulch, woodchips or newspapers on top of the soil – this will help suppress the growth of weeds as well as helps to keep the ground moist
- Pick all ripe vegetables as soon as possible. This will help your plants stay healthy as well as keep your garden looking beautiful.
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