When the pandemic hit, people took to their gardens for comfort and for something to do because they were stuck at home. Right now, some food stores across the country have been facing shortages of different products and in a Reuters article this month they indicated this might continue.
We think a great solution to this problem is to grow your own food. If you turned to gardening during the pandemic keep it going or if you live in an urban area and don’t think you have the space, we are here to tell you there are some great new plant concepts that can work for you. Plus, there is nothing like having fresh vegetables to eat.
Small Space Gardening
We previously wrote about a new concept known as Kitchen Minis. These are ready-grown potted vegetable plants you can purchase and place in a sunny windowsill, on a kitchen counter, or on a patio table. Each plant’s harvest lasts for several weeks. There are hot and sweet peppers and tomato plants. There are several varieties of each plant. You can find the article here. Click here to learn more about where you can find these products.
Kitchen countertop gardening has become more popular in the last few years. This is a miniature garden that you can do yourself, with a small amount of money or you can purchase an expensive one that has grow lights or a hydroponic setup. We have previously written on this topic, and you can learn more about it here.
When it comes to growing your own food, we put together some vegetables you might want to try this year. Many of these can be grown in containers, so if you don’t have a lot of space consider growing some of these vegetables.
Beans – Green beans or garden beans are one of the earliest plants to grow. They come in a variety of flavors, pod shapes, sizes, and colors. Green Snap Beans are the most familiar to people. They are warm-weather vegetables, so plant them after the danger of frost has passed. Beans need to be planted in a location that gets up to 8 hours of sun in well-draining soil. Pole beans help you maximize your space as the plants grow vertically and are easiest to harvest. Bush-type beans need no support and do not require much care.
Beets - Beets like cool weather in the spring and fall and are easy to grow, plus they don’t require a lot of room. Beets do best in deep, well-drained soil, but never clay, which is too heavy for large roots to grow. When planting beets, the seeds should be 1 to 2 inches apart in the row. For a continuous supply, plant your beets in several plantings, about three weeks apart.
Carrots - Since carrots are a root vegetable meaning it principally grows underground, it makes sense that good soil preparation would be critical to growing these plants. Carrots grow best in full sun but tolerate some shade. The seed is very fine and mixing it with sand can assist you in making planting easier. You can dig a row in the soil about ¾ inch deep and after planting the seed in the row cover the seed with soil and then gently water. It is important to keep the soil from drying out to ensure that the seed properly germinates. Learn more about Growing Carrots.
Corn - Nothing says summer more than eating a fresh ear of corn, but it used to take a lot of space to grow. There are now corn plants that even grow in containers so there is no reason not to try it in your garden this year. It prefers conditions similar to that of beans which make a great companion plant. The corn gets nice and tall, and the beans can use the stalks for support. You’ll need a sunny location with rich soil that drains well but during the hot summer months mulch the plants, so they don’t dry out.
Cucumber – Cucumbers come in bush and vine varieties. The vine varieties produce more cucumbers if they are provided supports and grow vertically but I’ve grown them along the ground with no difficulty Both of these varieties can be grown from seeds. Plant the seeds similar to how you would plant beans but space them about a foot apart. A good layer of mulch applied in June or July will help regulate the moisture content in the soil and if you see any leaves turn white with powdery mildew just remove them to prevent the spread of the fungus.
Lettuce – According to the National Garden Bureau, 2022 is the year of the Salad Green. A great reason to include lettuce in your garden is that it can be grown just about anywhere. Not only is it grown in a vegetable garden, but it is easily grown in a container on a deck or even hydroponically on a kitchen countertop. It does best in cool temperatures and prefers sun to partly shady conditions. There are numerous varieties of lettuce available, and many can be harvested within 45 days of planting. If the leaves are picked regularly the plants will continue to grow and you’ll have salads for weeks to come!
Peas - Peas are easy to grow but the growing season is short as they thrive in the cooler temperatures of early to mid-spring. Over the years it has become a common practice amongst gardeners to plant peas on St. Patrick’s Day, but you can plant them in the spring as long as the soil is not too damp. Peas can be grown in USDA Zones 3 through 11 which means they can be planted just about anywhere in the U.S. Peas are categorized in several ways. Sometimes they are grouped based on height as there are very tall varieties as well as dwarf ones. Get more details on Growing Peas.
Radish - Radishes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow. They grow in both sun and semi-shade conditions and since they mature quickly, they are a great candidate for small containers. You can also harvest the leaves for salads in addition to the mature roots. Just provide good soil, cool temperatures, and regular watering and you’ll have delicious radishes in no time!
Tomatoes - Perhaps the most popular plant that people grow in their vegetable garden are tomatoes. Tomatoes versatility in the kitchen contributes to this as it is used in some of the most popular dishes including spaghetti sauce and pizza. It can be used with a variety of meats as well as being eaten raw in salads. Tomatoes thrive in the heat and the warmer the soil temperature the faster they will grow. They need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight to produce the best crop although they will tolerate conditions that are less sunny. Read our 5 Tips For Growing Great Tomatoes.
Zucchini - Zucchini is a member of the Squash family and is related to cucumbers, pumpkins, and melons. We don’t know if we’ve ever grown a plant that produces as much fruit like this one. It seems like the more you pick the more you get which means you’ll have plenty to share with everybody else! It prefers full sun, well-drained warm soil. It prefers warm soil, and air temperatures that will allow it to grow quickly once the weather heats up in late spring and summer. The flowers are edible too and can be fried or stuffed with cheese. Yum!
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