Looking to save money, eat clean, and do something good for the environment? You can do it all by just getting your hands dirty – and it all starts in your own backyard.
It’s easy to get intimidated if you’re a gardening neophyte, but there’s really nothing to fear. Scout out a sunny spot in the yard and make sure there’s a water source in the vicinity.
Visit your local garden center for pots, potting mix, seeds or starter plants, and a few pots, plus a shovel and watering can.
It’s time to plant once you know there’s no longer a risk of overnight frost. In the northeast where I live, that’s around mid-May.
Deciding What to Plant
It’s pretty simple – grow what you like to eat! Herbs, tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce are always a good place to start. Summer squash, broccoli and melon are also fairly low-maintenance. Chili peppers and eggplant are also a couple of my personal faves; they grow well in the ground or in large pots placed on the lawn or patio.
Once you’ve decided what to grow, think about placement. Larger plants like tomatoes and broccoli will grow tall, blocking light from lower lying vegetation so allow shorter plants lots of sunny access around the edges of garden beds. Go online and view images of what full grown plants look like, it will help you decide what you have room for.
Care and Maintenance
Water and sunlight are really all a garden needs. Avoid over-grooming plants by simply pinching away any dead leaves. As plants grow larger, use string or tomato cages to give the plants support and something to hold on to.
Once fruits and veggies start to appear, check and pick ripe produce daily to prevent plants from getting weighed down (and critters from munching). If you live near a wooded area, a simple chicken wire fence may also help keep local animals from stealing your harvest.
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