If you are like me...then even your plastic house plants seem to die on you. I am determined to grow a vegetable garden this summer so I can say things like, “Yes, this salad is made completely from my own garden!” or “Here is a basket of vegetables from my garden...I can’t get them to stop growing (laughing and tossing my hair).”
I set out to find plants that no matter how much sun, water, neglect or overcompensation they get….they will grow.
What you need: soil, sun, seeds & water
(For you city folk that don’t have an inch of green within miles, no problem. If you don’t have an actual outdoor garden area, you can use a planter.)
If you already have an outdoor garden, or rather an area of dirt, make sure to sow the soil before you plant the seeds. I am sure you all know what sowing entails, but just in case (wink wink), it simply means loosening up the soil and pulling out any weeds or stones that might disrupt the vegetables from growing. Already sounding like too much work? Simply pick up a planter and a bag of pre-fertilized soil.
Pick a spot that gets about 6 hours of direct sunlight each day (give or take a couple hours...remember we are only planting things that will live no matter what).
You can pick up small packets of veggie seeds at any hardware or garden store. If you prefer shopping from the comfort of your own home...you can order both seeds and starter plants from online garden shops such as Burpee.com
Good news- your veggies won’t need to be watered every day- or even every other day. Or if you’re like me it will be once a week. All they need is the equivalent of 1 inch of rainfall water a week. In the beginning when they are just baby seeds- try to keep the soil moist on a daily basis- but then it becomes like flossing- do it when you remember to do it.
“I will survive” plants:
When: Plant beets in late spring or when the weather starts to warm a bit all the way through mid-July.
How: Plant the seeds about 1 inch under the soil and 2-3 inches apart.
Eat: You can eat beets at any size, but they are best full grown when the green are about 6 inches tall.
Tip: Don’t forget about the tips. Beet greens are full of flavor and hold even more nutrients than the beet itself.
When: Radishes can be grown all season, but do best in early spring and late summer
How: Plant seeds a half inch deep and 1 inch apart.
Eat: You will be harvesting these little round treats in about a month!
Tip: Radishes are a cool season vegetable, so plan to have the best harvests in spring and fall.
Lettuce (There are tons of different varieties of lettuce- pick your favorite)
When: When you think you’ve had your last frost- or sometime in April or May
How: Plant seeds about ¼ inch deep, cover with soil and water
Eat: Most varieties mature in about 6 weeks, but you can harvest it anytime it looks ready. And it will continue to grow throughout the fall.
Tip: For better tasting lettuce, start picking leaves early as they will tend to get bitter and tough if allowed to grown too long.
Tomatoes (most popular vegetable for any garden size!)
When: Tomatoes are warm weather plants and will not grow in temperatures below 50 degrees. Plant once day and night temperatures are not dipping below that temperature.
How: You can grow your own plants from seeds by starting them inside it pots for about a month, or you can just buy starter plants (easiest way)
Eat: We all know what a ripe tomato looks and feel like, right? So just pick them when they look like that! Or you can pick them a little early and let them continue to ripen inside, off the vine.
Tip: Pinch and pluck the “suckers” that grow in the “crotch” of two branches. These little buds suck energy away from the fruit.
image credit: Tomato_Suckers.jpg
When: If you want to grow from scratch, you will need to start your pepper seeds indoors for at least 2 months before you plan on moving them to your garden. Which is why I suggest going to your local garden store and purchasing starter plants. Plant starter plants about 3 weeks after the last frost.
How: Transplant starter plants from the indoor pots to your well-sowed outdoor garden soil
Eat: Most pepper plants mature in 60-80 days.
Tip: Be patient and allow peppers to fully mature. Some peppers take a while to change from green to red/orange/yellow. The flavor and nutrients increase drastically during that change, making it worth the wait.
Bush Beans ( as opposed to pole beans)
When: Plant seeds after the last frost.
How: Plant about 1 ½ inches deep and 3 inches apart
Eat: Bush bean plants will harvest all summer long. When you start seeing beans, pluck them off and check back again the next week for more!
Tip: Don’t let the beans get too big...younger beans are more tender and tastier.
Bonus Tip: Label your planters with our waterproof chalkboard labels.
Another great idea: Our chalkboard labels are a creative, heartfelt way to thank your child's teacher this year!
Here's to turning our black thumbs green this summer! Enjoy all your yummy veggies!