In this economy, everything a family can do to save some money, and have some cheap quality family time, is a blessing! One of the best ways to do that is to create your own family vegetable garden. Even if all you do is provide your family with fresh salad fixings, then your effort is well worth the experience!
So let’s take this salad garden a step further. Look at what you and your family love to eat in a salad, what kinds of lettuce, tomatoes and other extras that just make that perfect salad. Now since you are growing your own salad garden, you can plant lettuces that you do not commonly find in the average grocery store down the block. Boston lettuces are a great way to go, as well as romaines. Also, don’t restrict yourself to just one variety, expand the palates of your family and experiment a little as well. The same with tomatoes and whatever else you would like to add to your salad bowls. Some great suggestions to add to your salad range and easy to plant and grow are snow peas, peppers, and sprouts.
Your next stop after you have decided what it is you want to plant is a gardening store! You can also find your supplies at a grocery store, but in order to get the wider range of lettuces and tomatoes, a gardening store or a home improvement store with a gardening center is a better way to go. Now, once there you have two options: seeds or starters. I personally recommend going with starters, because that way, you know they are already started and doing well. Plus, it relieves all that nervousness of whether the seed will actually grow! However, you may need to go with seeds if they do not have starters in the varieties you really want. Add soil to your basket, and you are ready to go. There are many soils to go with, but for a new gardener, something with moisture control, that way if you water too much or too little, your plants have a bit of protection.
Once you get home, the time for planting is at hand! Most plant straight into the ground, tilling up the land to a garden of your chosen size. Another great way to go is through a raised bed. One it helps you not have to bend down so far, but also protects your plants from animals, and weeds that might be present in your yard. Even if you do not see the weeds themselves, raised beds help protect from roots present in the ground. Raised beds are also fairly easy to make, just required some wood (recycled from other projects is a great way to go) and soil. Here, you get to make the garden as large or as small as you need, and it guarantees that when you water your garden, the water goes where it is most needed, your salad fixings!
Once, your garden is ready to go, then plant all your salad fixings, following the directions on the back of the seed packets or the starters. Always make sure you are following the correct amount of distance that should be between each plant. This is something that is easy to mess up and usually the first mistake a garden rookie will make. Even if you think that much room is not needed, follow it anyways. After planting, you are left to water and weed. Watering is a constant thing and you can fluctuate the watering schedule based on your plants and the local weather. If you get a shower everyday, then that might be just enough to keep your plants going. Another big tip is to water in the late evenings, that way the needed water is getting soaked up by the plants and not evaporated by the sun.
This simple garden will provide you plenty of salad fixings, and hopefully give you the bug for a bigger garden undertaking next year!