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It’s no secret I love food! I love eating food, cooking food and even growing food. My grandparents always had an amazing garden. Growing my own garden makes me feel connected to them and the memories I have of spending summers helping in their garden and shelling peas as a little girl. Gardening also helps me feel connected to nature. It’s amazing to me that one little seed can become a fruit or vegetable that I can turn into a meal to feed my family. Not to mention that for some reason homegrown food tastes so much better. If you’ve thought about growing a garden but aren’t sure where to start I’ve got some easy garden ideas to get you going.
If you’re starting a garden for the first time I would suggest starting small with a container garden. You can grow all sorts of things in pots. I’ve grown herbs, tomatoes and a lemon tree all in pots. Currently I’ve got a pineapple plant I’m growing from scraps, a lemon tree, and a lime tree in pots. I’ve also got a window box below my kitchen window with mint & rosemary growing in it.
Tips for Container Gardening
Be sure your containers have holes for drainage. If not you can use a drill to create your own. You’ll also want to be sure to regularly water plants in containers since they tend to dry out more quickly.
I’ve grown gardens in containers, in the ground and in raised beds. I live in a suburban neighborhood so my gardens have always been in my backyard. I started with a few pots, then moved to a small 4×4 Raised Bed and last year my husband surprised me with a much larger 14 foot raised bed he had built for me. No matter where you choose to start your garden be sure to use a nutrient rich garden soil. For my potted plants I used Miracle Gro Potting Mix.
Trial & Error
While I do try to read a bit about the best techniques for growing different fruits and veggies (Pinterest is a great source) most of my gardening is done by trial and error. I plant, water, weed and just see what happens. Surprisingly, this method has been effective. I’ve had things that didn’t do so well, like the corn I tried out last year. And I’ve had things really take off, like the cucumbers and basil I was giving away to friends and neighbors because of the abundance. Let nature take it’s course and you’ll be surprised how easy gardening can be.
Easy Does It
Your garden doesn’t have to be high maintenance. Just remember to do these basic things:
- Check for pests
Make sure your garden receives enough water. Occasionally you’ll want to fertilize and pull out any weeds. You can use epsom salt to fertilize tomatoes.
Egg shells are also good for boosting the nutrient level of your garden soil. You can use a blender or food processor to create a dust to sprinkle in your garden. I also like to use Miracle Gro Shake N’ Feed.
As your garden matures it will likely become a target for pests like tomato hornworms. If you start to see holes in your plant’s leaves it’s time to take action. I like to use the Bayer Advanced Vegetable and Garden Insect Spray that hooks up to your water hose.
I usually start out all gung ho, working in my garden any chance I get. As the Spring turns to Summer and it gets hotter outside I find myself less into working in the garden and more into lounging in the pool. Once school is back in session and we’ve got soccer on the weekends the garden is mostly forgotten. It’s amazing though how nature tends to take care of it itself. I was surprised to see these marigolds, onions, basil and a tomato plant all come back from last Spring’s planting.
What To Grow
There are so many options when it comes to what you can grow in your garden. My advice is to begin with fruits and veggies that you can pick up from your local garden center and grow what you will actually eat.
The plants available in your local garden center are more likely to grow well in your area. They are also usually off to a good growing start. Sometimes you can even find plants that already have fruits or veggies growing on them. If you’re impatient this can be a big win instead of starting from scratch and waiting for seeds to sprout.
Choose herbs, fruits and vegetables that you and your family will actually eat. I’ve grown jalapeños because they are easy to grow, my husband likes them and I occasionally make fresh salsa. I’m not growing them this year because we never really used the ones we grew last year. Most of them were wasted. Growing food is fun but wasting food is not fun. Think about the foods you cook with the most and start with one or two of those.
Easy to Grow Plants
Here is a list of herbs and veggies I’ve found are easy to grow:
- Bell Peppers
Growing your own food doesn’t have to be hard. Start small, see what works, choose some easy plants to start with and let nature do the rest. You CAN do it! You’ll feel so proud when it’s time to harvest and serve your delicious, homegrown food to your family – even if it’s just a tomato or two.