Edible Gardens

A Step-by-Step Guide to Home Gardening


Fresh, local produce is in demand these days, and nothing’s more local than edibles grown in your own backyard garden. Having fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs not only saves money at the grocery store, it’s also a great way to get kids outdoors and teach them about caring for plants.

An easy herb garden

If you don’t have a lot of gardening experience, start with a few potted herbs to get into the swing of things. This is a cost-effective way to get growing experience and fresh herbs at the same time. You can keep them outside when the weather permits and bring them indoors to a sunny window when the temperatures dip.

You’ll need:

  • Herb plants
  • Potting soil
  • Decorative planting containers

Visit a local nursery or garden supply center, and select two or three herb plants. A good rule of thumb is to grow what you eat, so start with herbs you know your family likes. Be sure to look for decorative potting containers that are slightly larger than the plants you selected, to give them room to grow. They are available in a wide array of colors, materials, and styles, so choose the ones that work best with your design sense. Your herb garden pots should have drainage holes and a tray to catch water that might overflow. To transplant the herbs into their new containers, start by adding a small amount of potting soil to your new pots. Next, remove the herbs from their current containers and use your fingers to loosen the roots slightly before placing them into their new home. Fill the container with additional potting soil and water thoroughly. Make a habit of checking your potted plants every other day to see if they need water. Press your finger into the soil about an inch deep. If the soil is dry there, the plants need water.

Grow what you eat

Plan your edible garden with your eating habits in mind—growing what you like to eat and cook with ensures your plants will get the attention they deserve. Tomatoes and peppers are popular options that thrive in full sun, and both can be grown in the ground and in containers alike. Onions and garlic are easy to grow and don’t require much upkeep beyond regular watering. Create seasonal visual interest by growing cucumbers, squash, beans, or other vining plants on a decorative trellis and reap the rewards of your new green thumb all season long.

Make it part of the scenery

Your edible garden will certainly taste good. Why not make it look good, too? For potted herbs, find some terra cotta pots, ceramic urns or portable containers that match your style. Bigger planters, barrels and water troughs can hold a mini herb garden or larger plants while adding an accent to your outdoor décor. Have a lattice wall or pergola? Adorn it with edible vines like grapes and hops. For backyard beds, plan your layout to include edible and ornamental plants for variety. Raised beds are a great way to structure your space while giving you control over the soil quality and drainage for optimal growth. Be sure to review your community’s Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions to make sure your garden plans are permitted. Also check with your local municipality regarding additional restrictions.

Wherever your edible garden grows, it’s sure to be fun and rewarding—with a bounty of delicious goodies to keep your family thriving through the season.

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