Harvesting your own vegetables from a backyard garden is a great way to use your outdoor space wisely while also providing healthy food for your family. There are many benefits to growing a vegetable garden: working outdoors provides access to Vitamin D, working the land can be a stress reliever, and it can be a great way to teach kids about where food comes from and how things grow. Here are some great vegetables to grow in your garden this summer:
Although not a vegetable, strawberries are a great fruit to grow in the garden each year. Simply pick up some strawberry starters and plant them in rows. Using a straw mulch around the roots helps growth, but be aware of slugs that can reside under the straw. Don’t be surprised at the look of a strawberry plant when you first get them, as they will look mildly decrepit. Strawberries grow quickly and are great in a vegetable garden because they come back year after year.
If you want bigger strawberries, pinch off any runners that the plants produce in order for the plant to focus on giving nutrients to the berries. If you do want to grow your strawberry patch, help the runners take hold by planting the new starts as they appear. If you’re like most gardeners, it will be hard to keep from eating the strawberries before getting back to the house!
Harvesting your own lettuce from the garden is so satisfying! Lettuce is a great vegetable to grow for those who are new to gardening. It grows fairly quickly and you can continue planting lettuce all season long in order to keep a steady supply for summer salads. Try a few different varieties to see what grows best in your garden.
The difference between a tomato harvested from your garden and one bought from the store are astounding. According to LawnStarter, they are also said to be one of gardening’s best investments when you consider the price of store bought tomatoes.
Pick up a few tomato plants from the store, along with tomato cages, in order to harvest as many tomatoes as possible from the garden. Make sure that the tomatoes have support as they grow with the tomato cage and you should help guide the plant up through the top of the cage for the best stability. Consider growing both grape tomatoes and large slicing tomatoes just in case one doesn’t do well in your garden. Grape tomatoes are great for beginner gardeners as they will produce and ripen quickly.
If you have excellent soil, consider planting carrot seeds directly into the ground. Otherwise, growing carrots in raised beds will help ensure your carrots growth in an optimal environment. Carrots can be a tricky vegetable to grow as you can’t see the progress of the vegetable itself before you pull it out. Mature carrots take approximately 75 days from planting; before fully pulling out the root, peak at the shoulder diameter of the carrot to see if it’s an ideal size (around ½ inch or so).
Carrots are fun to grow with kids because it is like a fun surprise every time you pull up a long carrot from the ground. Make sure that carrots are planted in well-drained soil that is protected from underground rodents who may enjoy them before you can.
Growing a vegetable garden is a great way to enjoy your outdoor space and to provide healthy food for your family. Beginning gardeners should start with lettuce and tomatoes in order to be successful. Planting carrots and strawberries are other great options to add variety and fun to a vegetable garden.