Having a vegetable garden is a win all around--it makes the planet happy, the bees happy, and of course, our bellies happy. Want to start a garden but overwhelmed on where to begin? Let’s explore together with a few tips to starting your first vegetable garden.
Choose Your Veggies
It’s tempting to fill your Pinterest board with Secret Garden worthy photos of lawns-turned-fertile-vegetable-gardens that are fit to feed a family of ten. You’ll get there, I believe in you! But for starting out, it’s important to begin slowly and focus on quality over quantity.
Think about what meals you enjoy most and the vegetables used in those recipes.
What good are vines full of green beans if you have never been in the mood to actually eat a green bean. Pick a few of your favorites (Psst: lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, and cucumbers are easy...and also just happen to be a complete salad recipe).
Seeds vs Starter Plants
When starting a garden, an important question to consider is whether to use seeds or starter plants. Seeds will take longer and often require some time to grow inside your home before moving outdoors. Starter plants, on the other hand, have been lovingly tended in ideal greenhouse conditions.
Support your local greenhouse in buying a couple starter plants this time around.
You’ll get a solid foundation in the health of the plants and also get an opportunity to talk with some local gardening experts about growing in your area.
Finding a Home
A container garden works well in most areas, whether you live quietly in the country or in a busy city with little outdoor space. You can use pretty much anything for a container, given that it has drainage holes in the bottom. Note: most plants need roughly 8 inches of soil to grow happily. Depending on the plant, you'll also want to choose a spot that gets at least 6 hours of sun during the day.
Move your starter plants to their forever home:
Before planting, water the starter plant well, then turn upside down and tap on the base of the planter to release it from its temporary container. Place your starter plant in its new home. Be careful not to pack the soil around the plant too tightly, as you want to leave space for the roots to expand freely. Lastly, place the newly fitted planter in an area outside that gives your plant the right amount of sun (you can typically find how much sun your plant needs on its plant tag).
Say Good Morning
There is *conflicting* research to suggest that plants grow faster when people speak to them kindly. Is it bogus? Maybe. But it’s also an opportunity to cultivate your own sense of gratitude and respect for the living things around us. These little plants are fighting their hardest to grow big and strong, so cheer them on!
Feed Your Plants
Plants typically need just a few elements to grow, and chances are you already know them. Can you name one? ….If you said water, you’re doing great already! In addition to having lots of sun and being watered regularly--how regularly depends on each plant and on your local climate--it’s also important that their soil provides adequate minerals and nutrients.
Adding a monthly dose of fertilizer will help keep your plants fed and happy.
Feed Your Friends
After tending, feeding, watering, and singing to your little plants, it’s time to harvest! What better way to honor your hard work and the beauty of your homegrown vegetables than to host a meal for the people you love.
Whether it’s a casserole, salad, pickles, salsa, or zucchini bread, share food with your friends and spread the word on how easy peasy gardening really is.
Still Not Ready?
So you’ve read through this blog but still don’t feel ready to start a full on garden. That’s okay! Take your time, there’s always next year.
And just because you don’t have time for a garden doesn’t mean you can’t have a plant friend at home.
In the meantime, how about bringing a succulent (re: cactus) into your life? They’re cute, on trend, and nearly impossible to kill.