I hope your Memorial Day weekend was memorable and full of fun and vitality! Now that Memorial Day has passed, I go into full on summer mode and start getting excited for my veggies and herbs that I have planted to grow quickly so that I can enjoy them in my cooking. Now here’s the thing, you don’t need a big piece of land to grow your own vegetables and herbs because I don’t have a lot of outdoor space either. I hope to have a large yard space some day and then I will grown more vegetables, herbs and even have fruit trees too. But for now I content myself with planting what I can in the space I have.
The greatest part about this is that if you’ve never grown your own veggies and herbs, no worries, it’s really easy to do and even if you haven’t bought any yet it’s not too late to get them in the ground now. I live in the Midwest so you lucky people in warmer climates have a year round growing season, and I envy you for that, but my information can be utilized in any climate you’ll just have to adjust your planting to accommodate your optimal growing season.
This year I’ve planted tomatoes, jalapenos and poblano peppers for my vegetables, and Italian basil, purple basil, Italian parsley, rosemary, oregano, lemon verbena, and thyme for my herbs. Last year I planted more of them in pots and put them on my porch but they didn’t do as well because last summer we got a lot of rain in Indiana and my veggies and herbs got flooded and didn’t grow. So this year I just utilized a little space around my shrubbery so that they could grow in the ground. All I did was dig a little of the dirt up and scraped the mulch off and put it to the side. Then I added some rich topsoil, stuck the plants in the ground and smoothed the mulch back over them. After that, I put a little fertilizer on the plants and watered them well. That’s pretty much it, though I did put the cages on the tomatoes so that as they grow they won’t fall over, and as they get taller I’ll have to anchor them with taller stakes but that won’t be for a while because as you can tell they’re pretty small right now.
The herbs don’t have to be staked because they don’t get very tall, I just clip a bit of the herb off the top when I need it for my cooking and that keeps the plants from growing thin, instead they get thick and bushy. I haven’t even put all my herbs in yet, as you can see from the picture below, I am planting my purple basil as soon as I’m done posting this!
I do have two pots with herbs this year. I planted the lemon verbena and thyme in pots because last summer both herbs seemed to do just fine in there. I did move them off my patio and into the landscaping so they’d get a bit more sun than they would on the porch. I just took them out of the packaging and dug a little hole in the pot that already had dirt in it from last year (I don’t really know if you’re supposed to get fresh dirt every year but my plants don’t seem to mind the old dirt), plunked them in the pot and watered. That’s pretty much it except to make sure they get lots of sun and don’t get over watered.
What do I do with all of the things I grow? First off I love to cook and am always happiest making something for my family to enjoy. I especially enjoy making Italian and Mexican foods, so the tomatoes, basil, oregano, and Italian parsley are used every day for the Italian dishes I make, and the tomatoes, cilantro, and peppers are used for Mexican food. I make my own salsa and guacamole and I always have some on hand as these are my family’s favorite things to eat. They also love Italian Caprese salad. I will include step by step instructions about how to make these items in my next blog. I use the lemon verbena, rosemary and thyme in many different dishes, especially chicken dishes and I enjoy experimenting to see how each herb can change the flavor of a dish. There’s nothing like going out to my yard while I’m making a meal, grabbing some tomatoes, basil and oregano, still warm from the sun, and bringing them in to use in my cooking. SO SATISFYING! And so much healthier than the pale, flavorless produce at the grocery store.
Obviously my little mini garden won’t produce anything for a while, and I need more variety in my produce, so I also visit my local farmer’s market for locally grown, delicious vegetables, fruits and herbs all summer long. It’s also where I purchase locally raised meat and eggs. In the winter I shop at my local health food grocery store for my produce, meat and eggs, and I always buy organic and locally grown whenever possible.
To summarize my healthy tips for the day- 1. Grow your own vegetables and herbs, it’s easy and so much healthier than grocery story produce. 2. Use the ground whenever possible to plant and if utilizing pots make sure they drain well and are in a sunny place. 3. Take advantage of your local farmer’s market to enjoy the freshest produce, meat and eggs. 4. In the winter buy organic produce whenever possible.
Once again, thank you for reading my blog and I’d love to hear any comments you have, so post them! If you’d like more information on my lifestyle coaching services, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.