The sun is shining, it’s supposed to get up to 70 degrees, but you know the best part about today? I have a WHOLE DAY OFF! Naturally, my days off are filled with errands, chores, and homework. But today, I’m going to take a few hours and plant my garden!
I’ve loved being outdoors and gardening. Ever since I can remember, I’d be in the dirt helping my mom plant her giant vegetable and fruit patch. My parents grew a little bit of everything: grapes, strawberries, apples, peaches, pears, plums, tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, gooseberries, mulberries, raspberries. My favorite job? Picking the ripe fruit. However, after my parents found out that I was eating more than I was putting in my basket, they made me a deal: fill the basket first, then I could eat whatever was left. DEAL!
Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE fresh produce. Fruits and veggies comprise about 70% of my diet, so being able to pick ripe produce off my own plants is beyond amazing. The taste and nutrition of homegrown food has no comparison, and that is why I’m SO excited for this year. For the past few years, I’ve been planting in pots because we lived in apartments. This year, we get to have a REAL garden for the first time! The plot is pretty small, but it is MINE and I am going to STUFF it with goodness.
I am a big believer in organic food, so I will not be employing pesticides or artificial fertilizers in my garden. Fortunately, there are a lot of really great gardening books and tips out there to help you avoid yucky poisons and get the best yield possible. You can check out my Pinterest page for some neat organic tricks to discourage pests from your garden.
One book I’m reading currently is Carrots Love Tomatoes. This book gives great advice about what to plant next to each other and what plants are natural pest deterrents. For example, if you want to discourage rabbits from eating your cabbage or lettuce, this book recommends interplanting onions and garlic between the rows of greens. Rabbits hate the strong smell–and so do a lot of bugs. Likewise, beets do well when planted next to onions and cabbage, but don’t like being next to strawberries or pole beans. It’s been fun finding out what plants are “friends” and what will help keep my garden (and us!) healthy and happy!
So, my soil is tilled and ready thanks to a few hours of work last week. Here’s what I’ll be planting today–all while wearing my big, floppy gardening hat, of course!
Julia’s First Organic Garden
- Russian Kale
- Swiss Chard
- Snap Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
- Sweet Peppers
Mint: I recommend growing this amazing herb in pots as it very quickly takes over! A container will keep it under control.
Basil: I LOVE fresh basil–I can’t get enough in the summer time! I use it on pizza, bruschetta, in basil lemonade–you name it!
Cilantro: This herb is fantastic for summer dishes. The citrus flavor goes well with almost any Mexican-inspired dish. The best part is after the herb goes to seed, you get coriander! Two herbs from one plant!
Sage: I always grow fresh sage. It is a great multipurpose herb to have around and is hardy enough to survive Minnesota.
Lavender: In addition to its fragrance, lavender is wonderful in recipes. I use it for baked goods, ice cream, and lavender lemonade!
For more ideas on what to plant, check out this post from the Greenwordchef, one of my favorite blogs with great tips on organic gardening and inspired cooking.
Keep an eye out for recipes from my garden this summer! If you know of any helpful gardening tips or plants that are easy to grow, let me know. I’m always open to adding more veggies to my list. 😀