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Starting Your First Edible Garden

Growing your own edible garden has always been a ‘thing’—given that it doubles as a hobby and a functional way to have fresh fruits, vegetables, and spices at your disposal. But with the rising cost of produce at grocery, health food and specialty stores (not to mention everywhere else), it has become all the more appealing nowadays just to grow your own. 

Why not rid yourself of the reliance on buying nutritious food for yourself and your family elsewhere? When starting your own edible garden, all you really need is some seedlings, soil, planters, and a good spot in your home or yard with natural light. The hardest part is arguably remembering to water them. 

Pick Your Produce

So where do you start when the idea keeps coming back to you, but still seems a little daunting? First, figure out what you want to grow based on what you actually eat or want to eat—and the maintenance level, if you are a beginner. A helpful consideration when just starting out may be to choose one fruit, one vegetable, and one garnish such as basil—which is fairly easy. 

For the purposes of saving money on produce, also consider economics when making this choice (i.e. figuring out some options you can grow yourself that have become particularly expensive to buy). If you’re going to put in all this effort, after all, it may as well be worthwhile! 

Pick Your Planter

Depending on the size of the crops you will be grow, plan accordingly with the right size planter. Remember that you should also plant seedlings with sufficient space on either side to allow for the roots to expand and your produce to flourish. In addition to space, you may want to focus aesthetically on a style that complements your home (whether you plant inside or outside). There are so many different options nowadays, but exploring your local hardware or gardening store can help you decide more easily than just perusing online.

Tender Love and Care

The rule of (green) thumb with gardening is maintenance—we learned early on in science glass that sunlight and water are crucial for growing plants. Too much sun or water can be damaging though, so make sure to monitor the right amount. Different plants have different needs, but finding an area in your backyard that gets partial sun, or lots of natural light inside your home, is typically your best bet. The same can be said for daily watering.

Seasonal Variations

In warmer months, you can devote space on your apartment balcony or the backyard of your house. However, just be sure to protect your garden from animals and pests with small screen enclosures. Or, better yet, create your own little greenhouse. In colder months, a greenhouse can keep working for you in this regard. But if you have the space in your home, it also works just to keep garden plants flourishing as you would with any other house plant. Set daily reminders for yourself, if needed, to avoid forgetting about them. 

Just Get Growing

Whether you are motivated to start your own edible garden by the rising cost of fresh produce, or something else, there is no reason not to start already! As with most new hobbies or activities you may try, practice makes perfect.

Keep in mind that some of the easiest options to start with are tomatoes, basil, thyme, raspberries, strawberries, cucumber, and squash. It might take a little time to find the right balance, but trial and error will help you get the hang of growing your own edible garden. 

Robyn Karmazyn | Contributing Writer

Summer 2024

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