If you have never planted before, starting a garden can be a little daunting. But the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zones are plenty. Creating an organic garden reduces toxicity in soil, air, water and your body. Organic veggies have more flavour, so you get the real taste of food. Also, an organic garden is a positive contribution to the world as it reduces the continual poisoning of our planet.
If you need inspiration, check out Laila’s urban garden here.
So if you’re ready to get your hands dirty, experiment planting these vegetables that are perfect for the novice gardener. As a general rule, plant seeds at a depth of two times the width, or diameter, of the seed. Cover the seed with soil and lightly press but don’t compact it.
Cherry tomatoes are super easy to grow. They need to be planted in a sunny position in your garden. Squeeze a cherry tomato into the soil and cover the seeds gently with garden soil. The tomato bush will be hardy and abundant. When the plant starts to flower, give it a dose of natural fertiliser. Place mulch around the small plants, and after 60 days, you’ll begin to get juicy tomatoes.
Pumpkin seeds often sprout from the compost pile. Seedlings enjoy a sunny position in the garden. Throw seeds directly into the garden bed. Pumpkin is a little greedy for space, so it may start to grow on top of other plants. Train the shoots to grow up a trellis as a vertical garden. When pumpkins turn orange, around 90 to 120 days after planting, they are ready to pick. Cut the stems with a sharp knife, leaving a short piece of the branch. This will keep the pumpkin from decaying on the vine.
Beans are also great for travelling in vertical spaces. They also like lots of suns. The seeds are easily planted in fertile garden soil. The shoots are usually vigorous. You will know when the beans are ready as the pods will be green and tender, around 50 to 60 days after planting the seeds. Snap them off at the stems as the plants will keep producing. Mulch heavily around the base of the plant.
Radishes are a wonder to eat straight from the garden, and they sprout so fast. After four weeks, they are ready! Radishes enjoy a semi-sunny position in the garden. If there is too much sun, they may bolt to seed. Plant them in well-drained garden soil. If the ground is hard, mix with sand or some mature compost. This allows the roots to develop evenly.
Cucumber is another easy plant to grow. You will need space in the garden as it likes to spread, or once again, try planting vertically—cucumbers like a warm sunny area that is mulched well. They will start flowering at about 14 to 22 weeks, so give them a little love with natural fertiliser. As the cucumbers start to grow, pick them regularly as more cucumbers will follow.
Lettuce usually likes partially shaded areas with well-drained soil. Mulch the lettuces to reduce water loss. Lettuce takes about seven weeks to mature. If lettuce is overly bitter, it might be lacking a little water. If you choose leaf lettuce, snap off the outer leaves, and the lettuce will keep growing.
Zucchini needs lots of space in the garden. They like similar conditions to cucumbers. About eight weeks after planting seeds, the zucchini will be ready to harvest. They are much tastier when kept small. Large zucchini is pretty tasteless but are great for stuffing.
If you are a lover of chips, growing potatoes should be your thing. Potatoes can be grown in stacks or long beds. Plant a seeding potato. As the leaves grow taller, either add more straw or mature compost. When the leaves of the potato plant die back, they are ready to harvest. When the weather has been dry for several days, gently remove the potatoes from the soil. Don’t expose them to light as they will grow green. Keep them in a dry, dark cupboard. If you love the idea of growing potatoes, get more info here.
Corn is like grass. It likes well-drained soils and is hungry for nitrogen, so apply a good dose of your natural fertiliser. Corn is ready when the silk turns brown at about 60 to 100 days. Eat the same day as picking. They will be delicious.
Carrots are a cool-weather crop. If your soil is clayish, mix with sand and mature compost and double-dig to enable carrots to grow deep. Carrots are ready to harvest around ten weeks after they are sown. Pick carrots when needed. Cut the green leaves off and use them in cooking. The green tops are similar tasting to parsley and full of nutrients.
- As your vegetables start to grow, plant flowers you can eat and medicinal herbs in between your vegetables.
- If you keep killing the plants, don’t panic, ask us questions and research a little more.
- Check out the Veggie Cheat Sheet for more tips.
Once you are feeling confident with growing food maybe you can turn all your lawn to lunch!
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