With Fall just around the corner, homes will soon be filled with the familiar scents of pumpkin pies and our families’ favorite vegetable soups. Imagine being able to whip up your favorite comfort foods without ever having to make a trip to the grocery store. A personal vegetable garden makes it possible to practice your culinary skills without ever having to leave your home.
Edible gardening has become increasingly popular and phrases like Non-GMO, farm-to-table, and organic now dominate food conversations. The stress of providing a healthy and organic meal for your family that still actually tastes good becomes obsolete with a personal vegetable garden. Growing produce in your own backyard means that you’ll never wonder where the food you’re eating comes from. While this is a huge relief, it’s certainly not the only perk of having your own edible garden. An edible garden will lighten your grocery list, lower the cost of providing healthy, organic meals for your family, reduce environmental impact, and provide a fun and interesting outdoor activity that the whole family can enjoy.
While creating and maintaining a vegetable garden may seem intimidating, it can actually be quite simple and fun. We have all the tips and tricks you need to know to help your edible garden thrive.
Decide How Much Space You Need
Most people believe that you need a large, open space in your yard to create a full plot-bed garden. However, there are a lot of vegetables that can be grown in pots right on your patio, such as tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. When deciding how much space your garden will need, consider how much food your family consumes. A larger family will need a larger garden whereas a family of two or three won’t need as much space.
Determine Where to Plant
No matter how big or small your garden is, all edible gardens require the same basic needs when it comes to location. First is sunlight. Most vegetables need about six to eight hours of direct sunlight in order to produce the most that they can. The right amount of sunlight also helps vegetable plants to resist attacks from insects and disease. And second is water. Most vegetables are not drought resistant, so they’ll need plenty of water. The closer your garden is to a water source, the easier it will be for you to care for it.
When to Plant
Although our weather here in Southern California is generally beautiful and temperate, seasonal changes are still something to consider when planting vegetables. Deep-flavored vegetables like radishes, squash and peppers grow better in summer while some leafy vegetables like spinach and lettuce grow better in winter (in warm regions like Southern California). However, while the weather feels cooler, the air does get drier. So make sure you’re still giving your vegetables plenty of water, even in winter.
What to Plant
While there are so many delicious and useful vegetables to consider when planting a garden, there are a few key vegetables you’ll definitely want to include.
Tomatoes — Tomatoes are one of the vegetables that continue to provide throughout the season. So you won’t have to plant many to provide enough for your family, which effectively cuts down on your costs as well. Tomatoes are also a good companion plant for other vegetables like carrots and cabbage. They’ll actually repel the caterpillars that chew on cabbage leaves!
Radish — Radishes can be grown in a plot or a patio garden, which is good news for those who don’t have enough space for a full vegetable plot garden. They also deter cucumber beetles and draw leaf miners away from spinach.
Onions — Whether you’re a seasoned cook or not, most people know that adding onions to a meal can upgrade your flavor game immensely. On top of that, onions deter most insects and pests. They’ll help keep your other vegetables safe and unharmed.
Edible Gardening Seminars With Roger’s Gardens
For those who want to learn more about the benefits of edible gardening, Roger’s Gardens hosts free edible gardening seminars called “My Edible Garden Series.” The seminars occur monthly and cater to the gardening information related to that month. In general, the seminars will cover information on vegetables, herbs and fruit as well as tips and tricks involving pests, weather and seasons. Visit Roger’s Gardens Upcoming Events page for more information on these edible gardening seminars.