So as some of you might know I actually have a black thumb. I don’t know what is worse then a black thumb? If there is something worse, well that is me. Basically the plants see me coming and they play dead in stores because that will inevitably happen once we get home anyway.
BUT! Every year Spring comes around and I see all the people with lovely gardens and flowers blooming and I decide to get back on the horse and try, try again.
This year is no different. I have already picked up a few herbs to plant and once again I am going to make an attempt at a little garden for my girls.
I have a friend that is a master gardener and she very kindly wrote up some great tips for where to begin when you want to start a garden.
I thought some of you might find this helpful – I know I certainly did! So here are her tips to selecting the right veggies for your garden:
Growing a vegetable garden is one of the most rewarding activities you can do for your family. Home grown vegetables taste better and have more nutrients than store bought veggies since you can pick them the same day you want to use them or even can them when they are at their ripest. There are an infinite number of veggies that you can grow in your backyard or even just on your patio or balcony. Here are a few perfect plants to grow in your first veggie garden:
Green beans are an easy plant to grow in your first vegetable garden. The only hard part is knowing if the plants or seeds you have are a bush variety or are climbers. If they are bush beans, then you don’t need to do anything other than plant them a half an inch under the soil and water in well. If they are climbers, you will need to add a trellis or plant them up against a wall so that they can climb up. Green beans start to produce on average 45 days after you plant them.
Cucumbers or zucchini are also very easy vegetables to grow. When planting the seed, make sure it is buried at least 3x the diameter of the seed. Since these tend to be large seeds, make a hole half an inch down and cover it up. In a week the plant will be about an inch high already! If transplanting, make the hole the size of the root ball and gently tease out the roots and place it in the hole then water it in well. These plants can get quite large so plant 12 inches apart. It should start to set out fruit after 30 days and you can be eating cucumbers and zucchini in as little as 60 days.
Tomatoes are another plant that are not too difficult to grow. There are so many varieties to choose from and selecting what you want to grow might be the hardest part! The key to tomatoes is to remember they will not set fruit if the daytime temperatures get over 90 degrees. If you are in the Southwest, plant tomatoes in February and after Mother’s Day in most areas of the Midwest and Northern states. Make sure that the tomatoes are not on the ground as too many insects and critters will eat them before you do! You can harvest the tomatoes when they are still green or you cut some of the vine with it and allow them to continue to ripen on the vine in your kitchen. (technically tomatoes are fruit but in cooking they are usually used as a savory ingredient so we included them as a veggie for the purposes of this post.)
Both spinach and leaf lettuce are also quite easy to grow for the beginning gardener. You can mix the seed and spread the mixture over an area and cut the baby leaves after they are a couple inches tall. This successive sowing will keep new leaves growing each week and allows you to have fresh greens until the weather gets too warm!
These are just a few of the perfect plants to grow in your first veggie garden. There are many more just waiting for you to try and see if you have a green thumb too!
And if you are interested in more inspiration to get outside, I have an outdoor spaces board on Pinterest you might check out.
And here is something fun to do with the kids in the garden:
How to Build an Indoor (or Outdoor) Fairy Garden
If you have bad dirt in the garden your cucumbers will be bitter. Also if you pick tomatoes to early while they are green, they might never turn red. I usually wait till they have some “red-ish” spots.
I’m looking forward to have garden this year (we did not have it last year, because of new dog). This year we are going to gate garden area, so dog can not eat tomatoes (I heard it’s bad for them)
I’m a not so great gardener…. however, artichokes are my best friend in our garden!!! And the best part is that it continues to come back! I chop it when it looks ratty/gross…. then it comes back! Its wonderful!
This is perfect-thank you for posting this! I too have a black thumb-I kill everything!!!!-but I want a garden sooo bad and all the veggies you mentioned were ones I was thinking about planting this weekend-those and strawberries! Here’s hoping that at least one thing survives!
We tried a garden in our back yard, but it didn’t get enough sun light, so we may try my mom’s yard or containers somewhere. We love home-grown food!
I love this post. Simple, dummy-proof and easy to understand. Please have your friend share more veggie gardening-101 tips!
Ok thanks for the feedback Viviana 🙂
Great post! Any kind of squash seems to grow very well — I like to plant yellow crook neck squash (and then eat them dipped in batter and fried, yum!). Broccoli is also pretty easy to grow, but you have to make sure you pick them before they bloom.
In my garden, carrots are also super easy. And the kids love pulling them up
This is a great post. I am thinking of trying container gardening. What are ways to keep away bugs/ squirrels / birds from tomato plants? Is there a good netting product available that still lets in lots of sunlight? I would like to keep the garden organic.
I love to garden. I adore this website. It’s simple, educational and enjoyable. Most years my flowers, vegetables and herbs do really well. Other years, not so well. Again, this year, I’m excited about the challenge! I just bought my seeds yesterday at Home Depot at buy 1 get 1 free. In addition to my 8 or 10 different vegetables, I am now into hanging light weight ropes from the side of my garage for Bird House Gords to grown from. It is a BLAST! Try it!
Hi there….any tips on growing in pots or containers as i havnt got a
garden…..also wot types of veg can u grow in pots or containers?
A good tip for ripening tomatoes on your window sill is to place them in a paper bag with a banana – check every couple of days and they should ripen in no time!
Another easy to grow plants are basil and mint. With mint have to be sure it’s in a container as it will spread in the soil. Both add delicious flavors to food and drinks.
Would like ideas for gardening in containers in India
dhani w says
Nice sharing! I will try to make my own veggie garden. But the season in my country will bring a great changes, how to choose a nice seed to plant according to the season?
S Jones says
This article was interesting and helpful. I like to grow things but dont know a lot
about it so your advice is welcomed. Thanks so much….Happy Gardening !!
Dan Davis says
We had some really nice tomatoes in big planters in front of our house, but the deer ate them the day before I was going to pick them. Now we have a plastic garbage can with wheels. Filled it with dirt/potting soil mix and put it next to our dog pen. Bush tomatoes grow great (I do water when we don’t get rain) and no more deer problems. Easy to grow, care for and pick.
When fall comes around, pull your tomatoes, vines and all and hang them from the rafters in the shed, garage, greenhouse, just keep them off the ground. We have ripe tomatoes until Thanksgiving. We have tried wrapping them in newspaper, but we don’t care for that, too hard to know when they are ripe without unwrapping all of them and then they go south on you 🙂 Just a few, I set in the kitchen window.
Thanks Grandma 🙂
I have a bad back so everything I plant are in containers up on cinder blocks. I am already picking green beans, zucchini, squash. The tomatoes are loaded and peas are starting to swell. I also have lettuce, beets,cucumbers, peppers, onions, potatoes, kohlrabi, and an herb garden. Most anything you grow in the ground you can grow in containers so you can put them where they will do best. Here in Texas when it gets hot I will have to water twice a day, but it is a small price for fresh vegetables.
as a little trick for planting or pretty much harvesting tomatos when they are still green, put the green ones in a drawer, keep it closed so no sunlight may shine on them and it should be at normal temperature and you’re tomatos are going to ripe very easily!
Just check on them every now and then.
Amazing blog and awesome tips!