Have you ever eaten a cherry tomato freshly picked off the vine and warmed by the summer sun? There is something so gratifying about tending to a garden and tasting the first ripened fruit of the summer harvest.
You don’t have to have a green thumb to do it either! Growing your own vegetables is incredibly simple and economical. I was lucky enough to get some planting done this past Friday before the rain came over the weekend. Having fresh ingredients right outside my door all summer long is worth a little bit of yard work!
My yard has clay soil, which is not ideal for growing plants. Vegetables grow best in nutrient rich and fertile soil. To make sure my plants produce lots of veggies, I planted them in these wooden planter boxes filled with potting soil. The boxes can easily be found at The Home Depot or OSH. They don’t come already assembled, but it’s easy and all you need is a hammer. I even put one together and I’m not the handiest of girls! I opted to buy already sprouted plants, especially for the tomatoes and zucchini because they have such a short growing season.
If you don’t want to use the boxes, I also have a few plants in regular planter pots, which work well too. The tomatoes grow in a vine and require a tomato cage or stake. You can find them at any garden store.
- It’s a process – Plan ahead, start small, and don’t try to do it all in one day
- Location, Location, Location – Choose a sunny spot (veggies grow best with at least 6 hours of sunlight per day). Also, avoid windy areas and plant in a spot that can easily be watered
- Use the right soil – Soil should be fertile and have good drainage
- Read the vegetable tags and seed packages carefully – Plant according to those directions and pay attention to the amount of spacing required between each plant
- Plant in the late afternoon – The direct sunlight during the heat of the day is hard for new plants
- Water frequently – Vegetables require daily watering unless it rains, it is best to water early in the morning or in the evening
- Have fun!
Follow these tips and believe me, your garden will produce a plethora of vegetables.
Here is what is in my Garden:
- Bistro lettuce/gourmet blend
- Mustard mix, includes green mustard, garnet red giant, and green mizuna
- Red Beauty – bright red and sweet
- Crookneck – yellow, curved
- Heirloom – golden zucchini
- Yellow Sunburst – tender, rounded
- Zucchini – standard green
- Black Carbon – reddish, black (8-12 ounces)
- Celebrity – standard, all purpose
- Courstralee heirloom – French beefstake
- Red grape – sweet flavor
- Know your varietals – Tomatoes are ripe when they change color, unless it is a green tomato varietal
- Harvest lettuce in the morning – The leaves will be crisp and full of moisture
- Pick zucchini and summer squash early – (6-8 inches is ideal) this size will be the most tender
- Pick peppers when they are big enough to use – ripening on the plant improves flavor and vitamin c content
- Harvest often – This gives the plants a chance for new growth
Somebody helped me with the digging!