There is no doubt that growing your own vegetables can be a money saver and can be fun! With such a wide variety of fruits and vegetables the possibilities are endless of what can be grown. In fact the interest of gardening in general skyrocketed during COVID. I mean gardening seems like a pretty good idea when there isn’t a whole lot of stuff to do. The great thing about gardening is you can even have a garden inside! Yes, that is right! Even if you don’t have a green house or fancy backyard you can still garen! There are also plants that can be grown during the winter depending on where you live. You can easily figure out what vegetables and fruits can tolerate your climate by looking up the USDA Growing Zone Map. That way you wont buy some seeds and wonder why they never grew! Check out below to see what growing zone you fall under. Can’t read it? Check out the USDA website here: https://garden.org/nga/zipzone/2012/
Gardening and Therapeutic Studies
No matter if you are gardening carrots, lettuce or wildflowers there is growing 🌱📄 research out there that correlates gardening to be therapeutic. In today’s world it’s always go go go. Some people go by life without stopping to smell the roses! Today, mental health awareness is increasing as we understand it more. With some many different stress factors going on in our individual lives, and on top of it all, a pandemic that hit the world, stress levels are through the roof!
Some qualitative studies showed that gardening can reduce stress and improve mood! A small study done by Thrive showed that out of 317 people, 80% thought to be in a better mental health state, and 93% said it improved their confidence and motivation. How can this be? They found that while people put in some effort it showed results in feeling a real sense of achievement, which helped to boost confidence and self-esteem. I mean who wouldn’t be proud of growing a vegetable, fruit, or flower garden.
Another survey was conducted at the San Francisco Bay Area hospitals. The results showed that 79% of patients felt more related and calm, 19% felt more positive, and 25% felt refreshed and strong after spending time in a garden. So if you are looking to destress, or have you time, try buying a bag of soil and whatever seeds, plugs, or mid grown plant you like and get to gardening!
Types of Edible Gardens 🍅🌾🍋
Now that we talked about the benefits from a mental standpoint of gardening, let’s talk about a few different types of gardens. There are so many types of gardens it can make your head spin. But it is more of which garden is right for you. Think about how much time you would be able to spend creating and upkeep the garden, how much space you have, and how much light your garden will get. Let’s take a look below!
Herb Gardens 🍃
These are great for apartments or small compact areas. A herb garden can look like decor on your wall or porch. Not to mention you will have fresh herbs when cooking all the time! Yum!
Let’s say you live in an apartment and your window in the kitchen gets the most light. There are two options you can choose.
- Buy some individual little pots of already grown herbs and repot them. Then place them on the windowsill, or get a sturdy rod and hang the pots in front of the window!
- Add an accent to your wall! You can do a wall mounted herb garden. Check out this DIY link to create your own! https://www.notjustahousewife.net/mason-jar-wall-planter/
Of course the options above are great for small space and apartment living, they are also good for having fresh herbs during the winter. If you have your own house you can always plant herbs in a pot outside or directly in the ground in a nice sunny area!
Raised Bed (boxed garden)
Having your own house has a lot of benefits. You can have your own yard and do your own landscaping. But let’s say you have a house, apartment, or townhome that doesn’t offer a big yard but very minimal space. You may think that creating your own garden isn’t in the cards. Never fear! There is still an option for you! One of my favorite and easy ways of creating your own garden is by building or buying a raised bed (box garden). These raised beds or boxed gardens can either be big or small!
If you live in an apartment you can still have a vegetable garden! An elevated or small boxed garden are great options for you to grow your own vegetables.
Below are some few options that you can buy a raised boxed garden!
- This is great if you live on a balcony and don’t want a raised boxed garden but need there to be a drain whole and have a bottom component to the frame. https://www.homedepot.com/p/Southern-Patio-Farmhill-24-in-x-9-in-Brown-High-Density-Resin-Deck-Box-Planter-HDR-049517/302646297?MERCH=REC-_-pipsem-_-308696888-_-302646297-_-N
If you have a little backyard or a small patch of grass and would still like to do a raised boxed garden but don’t want to make your own there are options to buy some online! The vegetables will eventually grow in the ground but the frame will keep your garden contained! Take a look below!
Growing with the season
Spring and Fall: When the weather is starting to get warm or cool
- Brussels sprouts
Semi-hardy (mild climates):
- Chinese cabbage
- Globe artichokes
Plant in Spring:
- bitter melon
Plant in Fall:
Cool weather vegetables plant best at 70-75oF
- Delicata squash
- Date plum
- Crab apples
- Pearson pineapples
- Passion fruits
- Key limes
- Sugar apples
- Sweet potatoes.
- Sometimes you can do turnips, jalapeno peppers, mushrooms, ginger and garlic.
Warm weather crops should be around 65-85oF, but 75oF for minimum growth. Warm season crops are tender / very tender a.k.a sensitive to the weather temperature. They can be grown outside of their season if they are protected from temperatures below 50oF
- beas, peppers
- sweet potatoes
- summer squash
- asian pears
- grape tomatoes
- durian passion fruits
- rose apples
- sugar apples
- New Zealand spinach
- Snap beans
- Sweet corn
- Lima beans
- Sweet potatoes
- Buttercup squash
- Brussels sprouts
- Sweet potatoes
- All season:
- Bell peppers
- Clack radish
- Celeries, cabbage
- Chinese eggplants
- Onions (including pearl onions)
- Wasabi roots
- Cherry tomatoes,
- Snow peas
- Black eyed peas
- banana squash
Fertilizer is heavily marketed to gardeners, and rightfully so. It helps to stimulate growth of your plants and to give it the nutrients it needs. There are so many different types of fertilizers but if you are looking to go the more natural route take a look below!
Have you ever heard of the saying don’t sh*t where you eat? Well that is kinda / sorta not the case for fertilizing your vegetable garden. This may or may not gross people out but have you ever heard of 🐛 worm casting? It is another word it means poop. It acts as a great natural fertilizer that helps plants grow and helps the soil retain water. How to add it? Work the worm casting into the soil as you turn it to get it evenly throughout.
If worm casting isn’t your thing there are other options! One thing you can do is after eating a 🍌 banana make sure to save the peel. Take the banana peel and chop it up into bits. Throw the piece into water and let it sit for at least an hour. The nutrient for the banana peel will go into the water and act as a natural fertilizer for your plants!
Save your 🌱 weeds! I know this sounds odd but weeds are a great source of nitrogen, which is a great fertilizer for plants. Now you don’t want to take the weeds you just pulled and plop them on top of your garden bed because then new weeds will form. Take the weed leaves, place them in a bucket and pour water overtop. Let the mixture sit for around 1-2 weeks to allow the nutrients to go into the water.
Coffee ☕ can do more than just keep you awake! Aside from making your morning cup of joe keep your coffee grounds. Add them to your soil to help the plants that thrive more in an acidic environment such as tomatoes, roses, and blueberries. You can also soak the coffee grounds in water for around a week to make coffee garden water and add it to your acidic loving plants.
If you are a big egg eater you can now find purpose for the egg shells. Egg shells 🥚 are a great source of calcium and are made up of approximetnly 93% calcium carbonate. All you have to do is wash out the egg shells, grind them up and sprinkle them in the soil. The egg shells are great for plants that don’t like a lot of acidity because they lower the acidity of your soil. Eggs shells are basically a more affordable way than buying Lime, which can often be found in the fertilize section.
Prevent wildlife from eating your vegetables!
If you have a huge garden it would be best to put some kind of barrier or fence around the perimeter to prevent your garden from becoming a feast to a variety of animals. If you decided to make a small box garden or a large raided (boxed)garden bed it would help to get a net or fence. Check out below some places to buy a net or a small fence if you have critters roaming around your yard at night.
- Want to make a net barrier on your own? Check out the link below!
Are pesticides okay to put on your vegetables and fruits?
When shopping at the grocery store some people make the choice to buy organic. But there still can be pesticides / insecticides on organic produce. It may be organic pesticides / insecticides… but lets face it, it’s still pesticides /insecticides. It is your choice if you want to use pesticides for your garden but there are some natural remedies you can make! Check out below!
- Vegetable oil spray: This can help with aphids, mites and thrips.
How to make:
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon mild soap (such as Dr. Bronner’s castile soap)
- Shake thoroughly
When ready to use:
- add 2 teaspoons of oil spray to one quartet or water.
- Shake well and spray directly on the plant’s surface that is being affected with little pests. The oil coast the insects which basically suffocates them by blocking the pores they use to breath (sorry little insects)
- Neem Oil Spray
Taking the oil from the Neem tree can be a power incestide. It can stop the life cycle of typical garden insect pests of all tages (egg, larvae, and adult). The oil from the Neem tree acts as an antifeedant for insects that would usually munch on the leaves in your garden. Neem oil is also non toxic to some animals such as birds, fish, and other wildlife, is biodegradable, and is a fungicide against mildew.
How to make: can follow instructions on bottle OR
- Mix 2 teaspoons of neem oil and one teaspoon of mild liquid soap. Again you can use Dr. Brooner’s castile soap.
- Shake thoroughly in one quart of water.
- Spray the affected plant foliage or spray all over to use as a preventative.
- Garlic Spray
Aside from keeping the vampires away you can use garlic as a natural insecticide / insect repellent.
- Take two whole bulbs of garlic and puree them in a food blender / food processor with a small amount of water
- Let the mixture sit overnight and strain into a quart jar.
- Add one-half cup of vegetable oil (optional)
- Add 2 teaspoon of mild liquid soap and enough water to fill the jar
When ready to use
- Use one cup of mixture with one quart of water and spray generally on infested plants
No matter if you are a beginner or professional at gardening it can be overwhelming if you are looking to start. I recommend starting small, and planting a few plants or herbs and seeing how you like it. I personally would use gardening as a destresser or to get your “you” time. Put your headphones in or listen to the birds chirp and get your hands dirty! Don’t be afraid to do extra research on the types of plants you want to grow and what their needs are. Believe me, doing a little reading goes a long way! If you have any questions don’t hesitate to reach out!