Photo Credit: Kellie Strickland At Recipe.com
I have very vivid memories from when I was a child of my dad’s backyard tomato garden. There’s really nothing better than growing your own juicy, red tomatoes, picking them yourself, and eating them on a hot summer day with a little salt. Delicious! However, tomatoes can be somewhat temperamental. They’re not SUPER difficult, but also a little challenging for a beginning gardener. That being said, your tomato growing journey will be much easier if you read this post of tips by Meredith at Imaginacres:
-Invest in some fertile soil- tomatoes will soak up all nutrients from your soil, so make sure it’s enriched with compost or fertilizer.
-Don’t forget to prune extraneous branches
-Grow a variety meant for your zone
I love bean sprouts, especially in my lo mein, stir fry, and other Asian foods. They add a satisfying, refreshing crunch to otherwise spicy meals. Plus, they are super easy to grow yourself (how many of us did experiments with bean sprouts in first grade science class?), filled with antioxidants, – and you can grow a LOT of them fast. Starting a bean sprout “garden” is easy. Just check out these tips by Chris Dalziel at Attainable-Sustainable:
- Place two tablespoons of bean seeds in your one-quart mason jar with a screened lid.
- Fill the jar ½ full with cold water. Let the mung beans soak overnight.
- Rinse the mung beans in the morning and turn the jar upside down to drain.
- Rinse and drain your bean seeds twice a day for 4 to 6 days. The mung beans are ready to eat when the white sprout is at least 1.5 cm long.
I could LIVE off nothing but chips and salsa, ya’ll. Seriously. It’s probably my favorite food. And nothing beats fresh, homemade summer salsa. I’m drooling just thinking about it! The best part is, most salsa recipes only take a few ingredients- they may be simple, but those are often the better ones. All you need is tomatoes, onions, and maybe some peppers and cilantro. Check out this post by Rachel at Grow A Good Life for how to plant your own salsa garden today:
Select an area that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight a day. A 4×4 foot raised bed or square foot garden will grow plenty of ingredients for fresh salsa.
Start onions, peppers, and tomato seedlings from seed under lights or purchase transplants from your local nursery or garden center.
Check out the full post for a helpful growing diagram and some yummy recipes!
Is there anything better than fresh strawberries? Yes. Fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate. I probably shouldn’t write when I’m hungry. Anyway. I think having my own supply of homegrown strawberries would be heaven, so I found this post by Joy at Bless My Weeds. Here are their best tips for growing your own strawberries:
-Plant Junebearer’s strawberries for home gardens
-They grow best in full sun
-The sooner you eat them after they are picked, the sweeter they are
-Pinch off any “runners” (long stems) to ensure that the main plant is getting all the nutrients
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that you have to give up on fresh, homegrown food for the year. Plenty of delicious veggies can be grown in containers indoors all through winter. Check out this post by the David Domoney blog for a list of the best vegetables to grow in a container:
Winter is the time for indoor planting! Start your indoor herb garden now, or try planting a few ferns or flowers. Having plants indoors keeps your air purified, plus they can be used for decoration. Also, many of them smell fantastic! Check out this post by Stoill Barzakov at Hubpages for the best smelling indoor herbs to plant this season. Another bonus- you can cook with most of them:
Most people assume that it’s impossible to grow anything during the cold winter months, however, that simply isn’t true! While most fruits and veggies flourish in the spring and summer, there are all kinds of dark, leafy greens that thrive in the cold and shade. For a list of what to grow all through winter, check out this post by Jill Winger at The Prairie Homestead:
I have a crab apple tree in my front yard, and it’s pretty awesome. The fruit is too sour to eat by itself, but it makes a delicious pie filling and jelly! I love having a fruit tree because they require almost no work once you plant them, and they give you new fruit year after year. For a list of trees you can plant this winter, check out this post by Melissa at the Melissa K Norris blog:
-Apple / Crab Apple
-Pears, Peaches, and Plums
At this point in the year, it’s too late to plant new things. However, during this time, you can be preparing for next Spring. I wrote a post last week about prepping your yard for the future. But, you’ll also need things to plant! This is the fun part- it involves eating 🙂 . Simply save seeds from your fruits and veggies this year to plant next year. Check out this post by Jill Mackensie at University of MN for more info:
-Tomatoes, peppers, beans, and peas are the best choices for seed saving
-When harvesting tomato seeds, scoop out the entire inside of the fruit- the gel material included. With pepper seeds, let them dry out.
-Store seeds in tightly sealed glass containers. Keep them dry and cool