Kitchen Gardening 101

May 1st, 2009

There’s no better way to get excited about veggies and herbs than to grow them yourself! Gardening relieves stress, beautifies your home and can save you money, too.

Depending on how much light you get in and around your home, and how much space you can spare, there are a host of veggies and herbs you can grow, like tomatoes, carrots, beans, rosemary, basil, parsley and cilantro. You can even make a small strawberry patch.

Here are a few tips to turn your brown thumb green again:

LET THERE BE LIGHT. Find some place with lots of sunlight: a windowsill, your front steps or the backyard. Just make sure it’s easy to access, so you can water often.

GET DIRTY. Visit your local hardware store or gardening center to pick up potting soil. It’s best to find soil specifically prepared for herbs and vegetables, but any variety will do. Don’t forget some natural or certified organic fertilizer!

THINK POTS. Get together some old buckets or bowls and punch or drill a few holes in the bottom, or use flower pots, if you can find them. Layer in an inch or two of gravel or some broken crockery to help with drainage. Then fill with soil up to a few inches from the pot rim.

SOW YOUR SEEDS. Go to your hardware store or garden center for seeds. Pick up a variety of packs based on what you’d like to grow and what you tend to cook with. Remember that vegetables like beans and tomatoes grow on tall vines that need a lot of space. Herbs and root vegetables like carrots and radishes are less demanding. Read the back of the seed package and check to see how much light your plants will need and how deep to plant them. Then go to it.

WATER, WATER, WATER. Many people have trouble keeping plants alive because they don’t water them regularly. Make watering part of your daily routine while you have your morning coffee, after you feed your dog, or as soon as you get home from work. Pay close attention to how much water your plants need. In general, plants thrive in soil that is slightly damp.

BE A PROUD PARENT. As you watch your seeds sprout, grow and bear fruit (or vegetables!), take pride in what nature created through your efforts!