I have never had much of a green thumb but I give myself an A for effort after many years of trying. I never know quite what I am doing wrong. My parents had a small garden in their backyard when I was younger and there was always tons of produce coming off of a few small plants. I blame it on the dirt where we live now which may or may not be correct but it makes me feel better!
In our household we go through a large amount of fruits and vegetables each week. I would say over one third of our grocery bill is fresh produce. We don’t get a lot of summer weather where we live in New York but when we do I always take advantage of the local home grown produce. I freeze berries for the entire year, blanch broccoli and freeze it for dinners and I have made pickles and canned peaches in the past. In general, to me, there is nothing better than fresh fruits and veggies and I am proud to say our now six year old will eat a piece of fruit for a snack no problem and loves his broccoli.
Last year I attempted to start some seedlings inside the house with my son who was 5 at the time. We started them a bit too early and they grew quite big. We couldn’t get them outside in the ground just yet because it was still too cold and that ended up being a bust. This year I decided to attempt seeds again but this time with some better timing.
I got a salad seed kit from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. This included types of lettuces, peppers, radishes, carrots, tomatoes and more. Their packets of seeds are much higher quality than I encountered from local stores in recent years. Each packet contains a good amount of seeds and the directions on the back are very thorough. I also liked that the packaging gave a good description of the type of vegetable that would grow. I have a small garden right outside my office window and that’s where I decided to plant the seeds. I envisioned my son doing this with me and making it a big of a lesson but of course he was distracted and wanted to play instead. If you want a cute planting idea for your child if they aren’t interested in the veggies you can purchase a Tickle Me Plant kit for them. They grow their own plants from seeds and the plant actually closes and moves upon being touched. It’s a cute idea and kids are definitely interested in this.
What I do know how to do with my garden is keep it safe. I have never used any kind of plant growth chemical, bug repellent or fertilizer. Ultimately you are defeating the purpose of growing your own garden if you start coating your plants with harmful ingredients. There are some at-home tips out there for helping your garden along. I have heard of using Epsom salt in combination with sugar to make your plants grow faster. I haven’t tried this one yet so proceed at your own risk.
Ultimately you don’t need a lot of space to start a garden. In fact, if you wanted to or you live in an apartment you could easily grow some vegetable plants in some nice large pots. You do want to keep your garden in an area that is suitable for most vegetable plants. I like a spot that gets some good sun but does receive shade for a portion of the day to give my plants a break. Make sure to water each day, preferably in the evening. You don’t want to water in the hot sun because you can scorch your plants.
Keep large plants staked up so your produce doesn’t end up on the ground where it will rot relatively quickly or get eaten by bugs or animals. Keep a good eye on things and pick your veggies when they are ready. Don’t let them sit for too long. And keep an eye on the forecast; cover plants if there is dangerous weather coming.