I used to have a severely black thumb. I inadvertently killed all plants that came into contact with me.
I hear a lot of people say that these days, one of them being my own mom. 🤣 But here's where I want to step in and say to those people, maybe you're just in a season of your life where learning how to grow things aren't a priority for you! Because that was me. When we lived in our old Victorian house, I didn't have space for a garden. Our backyard was very small...but I tell you, I had a desire smoldering in my heart for it. It was small. I knew I didn't have the space, so I knew it wasn't time for it. But then when we moved to our current home in the country (swoon!), I had four acres to learn on to my heart's content! We moved to a gem of a place that was the test site in our area for grapes. So we moved here with 22 rows of wine grape vines that hadn't seen tending to in years. Not that I blame anyone for not tending to them, it's a LOT of work. Especially if you don't have a desire to learn or actually do it. Because let me tell you, I went through and pruned ALL of them. And I was sore for daaayyyzzzz. Ok, I pruned half of them. Because we had to tear out half of them, as a lot were dead. But still. 10 rows of about 10 large, mature plants each is a lot.
There really is nothing like harvesting your own vegetables from your garden. Truly. The taste of straight from the garden is unmatched. Because it's picked at the exact moment of ripeness, not before and trucked across the country. And that is just truth. Does that mean I don't buy produce from the store? No. It just depends on timing. But I would pick fresh from the garden any day! Farmer's Markets are amazing options if you don't have space for a garden, because they will be the same, picked at the perfect time.
I want to encourage you to at least consider growing a few things. Even if it's a few tomato plants in some pots on your balcony. You know what? That's starting somewhere. And I would give you a round of applause for it. Learning to rely on yourself for your own food is not only empowering, but healthier for you (because quite frankly, you don't grow things to waste them, you eat them).
So where do you start?!? It can be overwhelming to figure this out. But like anything else in life, you just start. Because that's how we learn how to do those things. I have learned something new each year that I garden, and given myself grace (for instance, this year, I have no green beans or sugar snap peas, which are my FAVORITE vegetables to grow! My kids love eating those things raw straight from the garden, and it makes me so sad to not see them this year! The deer and rabbits have really been a problem, and I need to figure out how to keep them out next year). So buying green beans for canning it is. And that's ok! But I have an abundance of other fruits + vegetables!
Figure out how big you want your garden to be. Because you can always expand or go smaller. But who are we kidding, most people become addicted to it and expand! 😂 Hi it's me. From there, figure out what you want to grow! Last year, I grew broccoli, cauliflower and cucumbers, but decided those weren't something we ate much of on a regular basis to make me want to grow them again. So this year I added cabbage, bell peppers and garlic. There's no right or wrong here.
Then figure out where you want to buy your seeds from. I grabbed mine from High Mowing, because my friend had the same sugar snap peas that I now grow, and they were so good, the best I've ever had, that I HAD to have them in my garden. So I went with them! Another great option is Johnny Seeds. Or even your local hardware store!
Pinterest is a great way to learn techniques, garden mapping, companion planting, to name a few things. So many things to learn! And don't think you're at it alone here either. I know that I reach out and ask people that have done this before for help! And they've been happy to help!
Things I like to grow:
+bush green beans
+sugar snap peas
+winter squash: butternut and honey nut
+yukon gold potatoes
+pears (not bearing yet)
+peaches (not bearing yet)
+nanking cherry (not bearing yet)
I *know* I will be adding and expanding this list. Next year I'm hoping to add zucchini and all the flowers + herbs! What are your favorite things to grow, or what do you want to grow?!?