I’ve yet to meet a child that didn’t love to dig in the dirt for fresh vegetables. It doesn’t take much to get started with a small home garden. This week, I’m thrilled to have a guest post by Susan Huff of The Soulful Seed With heartfelt love for home gardening and a career helping families and communities make this a reality, Susan brings a loving and easy approach to help you get your first home garden started this summer. Thank you, Susan!
When we eat food, we have the opportunity to begin a relationship with food, paying attention to what fuels our bodies and satisfies our soul. It can also provide an even deeper experience with the earth, the climate, the location and the space we live in. It all begins with a garden! Few things are more satisfying than growing food you can eat. Regardless of where you live, or even the space you have, there is always an opportunity to develop a deeper relationship with food and health when you start a home garden.
Gardening is popping up everywhere. Co-ops, community gardens, school plots, and even social media, like these fun suggestions for kid friendly gardening, provide ample examples of how easily YOU too can do it. Yet, many see the term “home garden” and feel it is a project only done with success by those with tons of experience or someone to teach them step by step in person. Gardening is an art form, and should be treated as such! The canvas the colors and the medium are all about your preferences and your enjoyment! Any art project can seem daunting if you feel it has to be perfect or it should be done a certain way.
The truth is that gardens are a direct reflection of you – a personal statement about what you love to eat, what you enjoy planting, and how much you want to develop that relationship with your diet and your connection with its process.
There are thousands of plants we can choose from and hundreds of ways to practice the art of gardening. I want to share a few ideas on how to get started simply, easily and without stress. Your spot, plot , or plan should feel positive, should be fun, and most of all, it should help you bring about good lessons to help create more of what you want!
Fresh veggies are about the most favorite things in my life- be it a cherry tomato, a clipping of basil, or a handful of arugula -nothing brings me more joy than walking out the door at the end of the day and bringing in a part of my meal that’s fresh and homegrown by ME!! Let’s begin by picking a few things that grow well in most every part of the country(watch your temps to see what works best for you). These four are a great beginning for the home gardener:
- Cherry tomatoes
- Greens (pick a variety you love!) and
- At least two herbs–I love thyme and sage
Just be sure to use good soil – possibly a mix of gardening soil and peat – available at all garden stores – rather than potting soil or top soil which can make the process more difficult. Remember, a good rule of thumb is that less is more! Now, you are on your way to success.
The road to beginner’s success is to use raised beds or container gardening. I have a few tips to get you started:
- Start small: 4’x 6’ is way better than 40 x 60 I can promise you!
- With just a few clay pots, you’re ready to begin. Add a few rocks in the bottom of the pots for good draining. I even love using wine corks–they are the bomb for this!
- Most greens are best planted from starts you can get at most any garden center.
- Radishes are always planted by seed and are the fastest to grow -yea they will be here in 28 days just in time to keep you from giving up!
- Tomatoes can take the longest – so this is the time to learn about nature and her plan – patience and acceptance are the most promising lessons that come from gardening.
- Another rule of thumb that will help is to plant the seed as deep as the seed is big and you will be fine – and don’t forget to water the soil well prior to planting anything!
Make sure you put your home garden in a place you have to trip over to get into your car! This way you will keep an eye on it and remember it needs care just like YOU. Begin with plants you love to eat; why grow a ton of squash if you don’t really enjoy it? I try to grow what I love, what is hard to find in the organic section, and what is best cut fresh – like butter lettuce!!! Remember this is an act of love- make it your canvas, make it fun, make it your meditation on what fuels your body. Food is a gift and if we treat it as such we are satiated with much more than just taste or even flavor. This is love – from our garden to our heart! What better way to say “I love you” to your body, health, and planet than to have a home garden! Ready set – BEGIN! I can’t wait to hear about your first sprout and how big your smile was!
Be well, eat well,
Susan Huff is an organic gardener, a chef and a slow food follower. For thirty years, Susan has been gardening and educating communities to design and create their own gardens.
In addition to her gardening pursuits, Susan has created three cafes, appeared in multiple television spots, and published several articles in Florida Gardening Magazine.