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How to Grow an Easy Edible Garden

In the era of instant gratification and 24/7 convenience, the age-old concept of growing your own food has — sadly — lost a little of its sex appeal. Why pour blood, sweat, and tears into a garden when you can buy everything you need at Whole Foods or Winn Dixie?

But that mindset is slowly on its way out. Conscious consumers recognize that there’s something special about cultivating your own crops. Knowing that your crisp, colorful produce is the product of your hard work and dedication (and Mother Nature’s magic) is a marvelous feeling.

Despite the best intentions, however, most of us are way too busy to commit countless hours to a gardening practice. Luckily, anyone can reap the rewards of photosynthesis with the smallest of time investments — and spaces. The answer is in an easy edible garden.

With just a few simple steps and minimal maintenance, you’ll be eating your own herbs in no time!

Step One: Pick a place Choose a spot that gets full sun, aka, at least six hours of sun per 24. Your backyard, your balcony, your front porch — even your windowsill is an option.

Step Two: Decide on a format For the purposes of this blog post (easy gardening 101!), we’re recommending container gardens. They’re super easy, aesthetically appealing, and can be set up in the smallest of spaces. There are lots of different kinds, from windowboxes to vertical hydroponic systems to traditional pots. Think about the square footage you have available, and decide which format suits your needs.

Step Three: Search for starters Lucky for every amateur gardener, starters (small plants that are already past the seedling stage) are available at almost any garden or home supply store.

Talk to a staff person in the plant department about what options work best for your climate and cycle of seasons; they’ll know better than anyone what works best for your area. In Miami, for example, the growing season is reversed, so tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, and many other tasty edibles are planted in the fall. In colder climates, most crops are planted in the spring. Get the skinny from your local expert before you get started.

If you want to keep it super simple, herbs are always a wise choice. Grow parsley, basil, rosemary, chives, et al, and your food will always have plenty of flavor. Or, start a salad garden, and stick with different varieties of lettuce.

Step Four: Plant Planting looks a little different depending on your style of planter. Some of the vertical gardens actually skip out on soil altogether! But if you’re using pots or a windowbox, you’ll need high-quality (organic if you prefer!) potting soil. Fill each container with the soil, almost to the top. Then, dig a hole for each starter, pop them out of their containers, gently loosen the roots, and plant them in their respective holes. Lastly, pack soil in around each. Voila! Your easy edible garden is ready for Instagram.

Step Five: Water and watch Water your plants twice a week (more often if they appear dry, but beware overwatering), and keep an eye out for growth! Your veggies will be ready to harvest before you know it. Salad, anyone?

Photo credit: Flickr/Creative Commons/KateMonkey

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