Nothing is more ideal to me than going outside and picking some fresh strawberries for breakfast. The idea of self-
sustainability is rightfully gaining more momentum than even the swankiest organic grocery stores. Since we’re all
“stuck at home” anyway, we might as well be doing something that is actually saving us a LOT of money. Growing
your own food has to be one of the more liberating feelings we can get as human beings. It reconnects us with nature
as much as it does nurturing. We can enjoy the fruits of our labor in a very literal and juicy sense. Whether you’re
making a pot roast or a pie, your garden can be a source of connection and joy within your home.
Okay, let’s start with the meat and potatoes, figuratively speaking, kind of. Obviously you can’t grow a cow in your
garden, but the potatoes are easy! Vegetables have been loved by parents and hated by kids for generations, but
knowing they’ve grown what they’re eating may just entice even the pickiest little eaters to try something that looks
Now, there are roughly 6 types of vegetables, but really, there are numerous different classifications and it kind of
just depends on who you ask.
- Root Vegetables like carrots, potatoes and beets. Basically if the part you’re eating grows underground, you’re eating a Root Vegetable.
- Stem Vegetables like celery and asparagus are consumed by eating, you guessed it, the STEMS!’
- Leafy Greens like lettuce and spinach, and anything else that is green…and leafy.
- Cruciferous Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and brussel sprouts.
- Allium Vegetables like onions, garlic and shallots.
- Marrow Vegetables like pumpkins, cucumbers and zucchinis.
That information wasn’t really important, just fun facts. But the following information will make or break your
garden. These 3 things will determine where you plant.
- How much sun each vegetable needs
- How much water each vegetable needs
- Companion planting
What is “Companion planting”, you ask? It’s just a rule-of-thumb, nay, a rule-of-GREENthumb for which veggies
grow well next to each other. Did you know you shouldn’t plant broccoli near strawberry patches? Neither did I, until
yesterday, when I planted my broccoli next to my strawberry patch. Next time I’ll Google things BEFORE I plant.
Here is a link to an in-depth Companion Planting Guide that can explain all the ins and outs much better than one of
my infamous run-on paragraphs. 😉
As far as the sun part, everyone learned in 4th grade that plants make their
own food with sunlight using a process called photosynthesis. Plants take
in water, and carbon dioxide and then with sunlight, they turn that into
sugars and oxygen, which they release into the atmosphere for all of us to
breath in and enjoy. Yes, vegetables do this, too. And planting them so they
get the correct amount of sunlight is uber important. The chart to the left has
the most common garden vegetables and exactly how much sun they will need
to thrive. A tip I just learned yesterday is to plant your veggies from North to
South, since the sun goes from East to West, this will allow for the most even distribution of sunlight.
Now, for the watering. Speaking of watering, my mouth has been doing it the entire
time I’ve been writing this. Anyway, the chart to the left shows how much water some common
vegetables need. Over-watering and under-watering are both detrimental to your garden’s health
so if you’re not sure what to do, this link can help you further. If you touch your soil and it crumbles
or breaks, you may need more water. And watering after a short rainfall can also help you build up a
reserve of water under the soil. Try to water enough to penetrate 5-6 inches. Researching your
location will also reap great benefits down the road. You can enter your zip code here to find
some good tips specific to where you are. The more time you spend taking care of your garden, the
more time your garden will take care of you.