The list of reasons why you should grow your own veggies is endless, but some of our favorites are: saving money, getting in touch with nature, and fresh, delicious food at your fingertips! Starting a vegetable garden may seem intimidating, but if you start small and stay open-minded, you’ll be growing your own veggies like a pro in no time. Tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and carrots are some of the most popular vegetables to plant for beginners (and can be used in tons of dishes)! Pick one, pick some, or pick them all. Once you get that first taste of homegrown vegetables, you’ll never want store-bought produce again.
You don’t need a lot of materials to start your veggie garden. Find a nice plot of land and install a raised garden bed (you can certainly dig up your yard, too, but a raised garden bed is easy to install and can be moved if need be). A huge area is unnecessary…an area that’s about 8×4 should be plenty of room to start with a few plants.
Make sure you choose an area that gets plenty of sunlight – veggies should get 8+ hours of sunlight a day to really thrive. Grab your packets of seeds and some plant supports for the veggies that grow on vines (like tomatoes) and you’re ready to get planting!
Sticking with simplicity here – you don’t need any crazy tools for your garden! A couple of shovels plus a little rake and garden fork are all you need. This set is made with high-quality wood and stainless steel so they won’t rust. If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, get yourself a pair of gardening gloves. Any will do, but these breathable bamboo gloves will make you feel like you’re still connecting to the earth without the grime.
Once your darling little seeds are in the ground, make sure they’re getting plenty of water! These thirsty little guys will want water right away. And keep a close eye on your baby plants…the first few weeks are when they’ll need the most love and attention. Your veggies should be deeply watered about twice a week. To find out if you should water your plants, do the soil test. If the soil is dry about an inch deep into the ground, it’s time to water! You can simply water your plants with a garden hose, but a cute watering can may be a helpful and fun reminder that it’s time to check on your veggies. Plus, it can double as an outdoor decoration!
When your plants have matured and your veggies are ripe, it’s time to enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labor!! This cucumber and tomato salad recipe is one of my favorite dishes for summer and can be made primarily with produce from your garden. The cool, crisp, refreshing salad can be enjoyed as a side or as a main dish, and is super versatile and customizable. See the recipe here:
Prep Time: 10 mins
- 1 cucumber
- 4 medium tomatoes
- 8oz of mozzarella, cubed
- Handful of fresh basil
- Drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil
- Dash of salt and pepper
- For a heartier meal, add protein like grilled chicken or prosciutto
- For extra flavor, add 1/2 medium red onion, chopped
- Chop all ingredients and place in a serving dish (except basil). Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, add salt and pepper, and stir. Let sit for 10-15 mins. Top with basil. If you’re using a protein, add right before serving.
- Don’t like tomatoes? No problem! Use three large red bell peppers instead.
- Not a fan of cheese? Substitute two or three avocados for the mozzarella.
If you’re unable to grow your own veggie garden because you live in an urban area that lacks space, or you just can’t seem to find your green thumb no matter how hard you try, don’t fret! Imperfect Foods, a grocery delivery service whose mission is to reduce food waste and deliver affordable, quality food to your doorstep, offers plenty of organic and locally sourced produce. Get $20 off your first four orders (for a total of $80 of savings) here. Plus, they have great summer recipes to try!
If you’re looking to redo and refresh your entire garden, check out our post here.