Up until last year, I had never really planted anything. I mean…maybe I planted a few flowers when I was a kid in school or in my parents’ backyard, but I had never grown my own garden. This was largely due to the fact that prior to living in Manhattan Beach, we lived in a condo in Santa Monica. That is, we had a lovely balcony with boxed woods in planters, but no real garden where I could experiment with my “green thumb.”
Last Spring I was inspired to plant a few veggies in my backyard and absolutely LOVED it! I found going out back to water my growing veggies to be very relaxing and serving foods I harvested from my garden to my family VERY satisfying. Unfortunately, I missed out on trying out Fall/Winter fruits and veggies because I was busy (i.e. we were busy launching Pier to Peer!), but I knew that planting my garden again for Spring and Summer was something that I didn’t want to miss out on!
Yesterday afternoon I was MOTIVATED to jump start this project and seized the moment! The kids and I hopped into the car, went to Performance Nursery in Redondo Beach (the owners were very friendly and extremely knowledgeable) and picked out some lovely fruits and veggies to plant! YIPPEE!!
HOW TO PLANT AN EDIBLE GARDEN!
If you have never planted a vegetable garden before, it is honestly not that hard. If I can do it, you can too! The biggest things to consider are where, when and what to plant!
Where To Plant:
If you have an expansive garden and can allot a large space to growing fruits and vegetables, that’s fabulous! But, even if you only have a small plot to spare, you can still grow some fabulous goodies your whole family will enjoy!
In my yard, I don’t have a whole area where I can plant my fruits/veggies, but I have been able to find a few nooks and crannies so that I can grow my own food. You can also consider using pots to grow some of your plants. Last summer I planted two Meyer Lemon Trees in beautiful turquoise-glazed potted plants and they are flourishing!
Consider what areas of your garden get full sun, shade, etc. Different types of fruits/veggies flourish with different amounts of sun. The good news is, that if you are not sure how much sun a certain plant needs, just read the small tag that comes in the plant from the nursery! It will tell you how much sun that specific plant needs — so handy!
When To Plant:
If you are at all interested in having an edible garden for Spring/Summer now is the time to start planting! The two main times of year to plant are early Fall (September/October) and early Spring (March/April)!
What To Plant:
Choosing what to plant depends on the time of year that you are planting. In California we are fortunate to have mild temperatures all year around, so herbs grow year round. Growing a simple herb garden is a great way to get started with growing your own food. Many herbs are pretty hardy and they can easily be planted in pots to save space.
If you want to branch out into other fruits and veggies, I found this article to be a great one-stop-shop for learning when to plant certain fruits/veggies. You can also ask the employees at your local nursery — they usually know their stuff!
There are many fruits/veggie options to grow in your garden, but here are a few simple ideas to get you going:
Spring/Summer: Tomatoes, basil, sweet peas, sweet corn, berries, melons, peppers, cucumbers
Fall/Winter: Kale, squash, radishes, parsnips, cabbage, chard, potatoes
How To Plant:
Honestly I am no expert in planting, but I have a few tips to offer that made my garden successful:
- Consider how much sunlight each plant needs and plan out your garden accordingly.
- Before planting, till the dirt, pull up any weeds, throw out any trash. Plants need healthy, clean soil to grow!
- Some plants (e.g. tomatoes & peas) need a trellis to grow up. Make sure you have the necessary trellises before you leave the nursery.
- Dig the whole for the plant so that the top of the plant will be flush with the top of the soil. They put the plant in and lightly fill in the surrounding area with the displaced soil.
- Resist the temptation to pack the soil around the new plant to firmly. The plant needs a little breathing room!
- After you are done planting, lightly water your new plants!