What to grow – beginners guide to gardening
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So, you’re thinking about a garden, huh?
I bet you already took a trip down the seed aisle and became overwhelmed with choices.
Gardening doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You simply choose seeds or plants based on what it is you like, the cost of produce in the store, and the space available to grow.
Gardening isn’t meant to be overwhelming, so don’t overthink it.
I have some suggestions for you to help you figure out what to plant. Grab a pen and paper and let’s make out a list.
|Vegetables I like to eat||Cost per pound||Space needed to grow|
|Red peppers||$1||18″ x 2′|
|Tomatoes||$1||3′ x 4′|
|Peas||$1.99||2″ x 5′|
|Cucumbers||.50 cents||10″ x 6′|
Take the paper and make three columns.
- In the first column, you’ll list every vegetable that you like to eat.
- In the second column, you’ll list what that item costs you to buy in the grocery store per pound. (take a guess, you don’t have to be exact)
- In the third column, you’ll write down how much space it takes to grow the vegetable. (Horizontally and vertically)
The space to grow certain items you’ll need to be somewhat exact. That information can be found on each packet of seeds or you can easily look it up on the internet.
Once you have your list completed you’ll see that some of the items you like to eat just aren’t worth the space you have available in your garden. This is why I never grow my own melons (except tiger), pumpkins, or corn. The price to buy them compared to growing my own just isn’t worth it to me because I have a small yard.
Take a good look at your list of items that will make the cut in your garden. I bet you’ll need to narrow down that list a little bit more. So get out another piece of paper and let’s write out some more facts based on your needs.
|Items you’ll grow||Taste – are they as good or better than the store||Time to grow|
|Tomatoes||Taste is much better grown||About 50 days|
|Seed Needs, Rainbow Carrot Blend (Daucus carota) Twin Pack of 800 Seeds Each Non-GMO”||Taste the same as store-bought||About 80 days|
|Peas||Can’t be purchased really fresh in stores||1 month|
|Radishes||Taste the same as in the store||22 days|
Items you’ll grow, taste (do the items sacrifice from the garden to store?), time to grow.
Now you have a smaller list.
As you can see, some items are a must-grow, for instance, tomatoes. You will never find a sun-ripened tomato in the garden that tastes just like homegrown.
There are also things, like the peas, that just can’t be shipped and disbursed to stores fast enough before they go bad.
There’s one more factor to consider, variety.
I love those little lemon cucumbers, they taste nothing like the pickling or English variety that are available in stores. Or how about those little cucamelons (melothria scabra)? They are adorable and grow very well in pots. Maybe you don’t have room for them in your garden, but you do in a pot on your porch.
Peppers, oh how I love peppers. The store-bought red bell peppers taste similar enough to the kind I grow in the garden but, my local stores only carry 3 or 4 varieties of peppers. I like different types of peppers, and maybe you will too.
Corn is something people often choose to grow. It’s easy and tastes so much better than store-bought. However, for me, it just isn’t worth the space in the garden. I have solar panels that can’t be covered by plants and corn gets too tall.
A quick note about seeds: Seeds often stay good for years if you are careful to keep them in a cool dark place. I have planted 10-year-old seeds and had them sprout. Just because the package says they expire doesn’t mean the entire package is bad. It just means that the chance of all of the seeds germinating isn’t as good as the first year you buy the seeds.
Here are some seed varieties that I grow in my garden. Some are usual varieties, others might be something you’d like to consider based on your own needs. On a side note, the tiger melon below takes about as much space as a cucumber so it won’t take up half your garden.