I do not have a green thumb despite growing up with parents that did (and still do) but once the warm temperatures and low humidity of April and May hit Florida I wistfully think maybe this year will be the year I won’t get blossom end rot on my tomatoes or have a leggy basil plant.
So this week’s blog is selfishly inspired by my own (desperate) desires. I hope I am in good company and there may be a few of you that need some basics on producing vegetables in your backyard.
During my research I liked the idea of having a theme and “Grow a Simple Salad” appealed to me most. So this would include:
LETTUCES: easy to grow, easy to harvest (snip tops off the plants or pick leaves as needed), they take up very little space and can grow in a container if need be. Need more? Then check out Mother Earth News‘ All About Growing Lettuce.
CUCUMBERS: Some sunshine, warm temperatures, something to climb and water and they’ll grow like weeds. Due to their vertical predisposition they can grow in containers too (bush rather than vine cucumbers grow best in containers or small spaces and are disease resistant).
TOMATOES: Smaller varieties have the best success and once they have lots of sun and something to stake them, they can be in containers, hanging ones too. Unlike the larger varieties, you rarely have to worry about splitting or blossom end rot. Buy the starter plants from your local garden center which are easiest to grow and look for “patio” type tomatoes (popular are Patio and Tiny Tim). Tomatos can apparently take some neglect so if you forget to water them, they’ll be fine (whew!).
Here is what else I found:
BASIL: Plant this fragrant herb (one of my favorites) next to those tomato plants and you’ll naturally repel pests and even improve the flavor of the tomatoes! I found this great link so I’ll defer to 7 Tips for Grow Mad Giant Basil Plants ’cause that is so what I want! Most herbs also fall into the easy category and are the most popular container plants.
ROOT VEGGIES: These would include carrots, turnips and radishes which can be planted directly in the garden in the spring and left until fall. The tops can be harvested too as these plants grow. How appropriate that I found this tweet today from Rodale’s Organic Life‘s 10 Ways to Eat Organic for Free (No Joke!); specifically #1: Harvest twice.
There are more easy-to-grow vegetables but I’ll defer to this popular article on the 10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow for green beans, spinach, bell peppers and summer squashes, as well as more info on carrots, lettuces, radishes, basil, tomatoes, and cucumbers.
Now that I have an arsenal of vegetables to choose from (and just might garner me the status of “green thumb gardener” this season) I am off to ask my girls what they might want to plant as it’s just as important to start a new generation off with a love of the earth and all that she can bless us with if we only take the time to partner with her.