Are you struggling with gardening like me? I am a perpetual beginner gardener and can never seem to get it right. I don’t know a lot about soil or pH levels or anything. I feel more safe using pots and containers for gardening so growing fruits in pots is perfect for me. If you are looking to have more fresh, organic fruit at home, growing it yourself is the perfect way to accomplish that. You don’t need a big vineyard just to grow fruit in your own backyard. There are some fruits that grow in pots, both outside and inside your home….
For some of us it can be hard enough just getting to eat our vegetables but growing them for ourselves is a whole different ball game. Whether it’s a busy schedule that keeps you from being able to devote our full attention to our gardens or simply a curse on every plant you try to grow, it can be hard to get started with growing your own vegetables at home.
Best 5 Veggies for Beginner Gardeners
Here’s a list of the five best vegetables you can start with even if you’re still a newbie gardener:
Being a root vegetable, carrots are safe from the elements so all you have to do is plant the seeds during some cool weather and in a few months (depending on variety) they’re ready to pull up, wash off, and bite right into! If you’re feeling adventurous, try a different kind than your standard orange carrot.
Did you know you can grow carrots in containers? Check out this awesome post at Empress of Dirt for tips on how to do that.
Peas are easy to grow, especially if you have something they can grow on like a trellis or fence, although you can just use a wire support if your yard or garden bed isn’t in an optimal place. Another cool weather veggie, these go great with carrots together in your garden and on your plate in a fresh salad.
Pumpkins are fairly hardy provided you wait for frost season to be over and they’re great for watching grow from tiny flowers into tasty treats. Perfect for planting when you can plan for them to be ready in the fall for October and November for pumpkin pie, you can cook and eat them tons of different ways or just enjoy a healthy, delicious batch of pumpkin seeds!
Herb gardens are easy to put together and can even be grown indoors in windowsill planters if you’ve got limited growing space outdoors. Just pick your favorite herb or spice and you’ll have it ready to pick and put right into your favorite dishes whenever you want to add a dash of fresh flavor to a meal.
For more info on growing herbs indoors head over to the Container Gardening page!
Whether you like them hot or mild, you’re sure to love them colorful and tasty! Peppers grow in close to the same conditions as tomatoes, making them a great choice for new gardeners to sink their teeth into (depending on how hot they are of course!). Nothing says summertime like a cool, refreshing taste of freshly chilled salsa on a hot summer’s day.
Even if you feel like your green thumb is more like the touch of death all you might really need is a little practice with some veggies that are a little easier to grow. You’re sure to find your garden bursting with fresh vegetables of all kinds in no time!
What is your favorite thing to grow in the garden?
A garden is not without its creepy crawlies. When you are gardening with your children you should talk to them about garden friendly bugs they might see. My toddler is super afraid of bugs so it’s necessary to explain to her that they are not all bad!
Garden Friendly Bugs
Many insects can be very beneficial to helping your garden grow – either by eating those who will ruin a crop or helping to pollinate your crops. You will want to make your children aware of the friends and foes of the garden insect world. Here is a short guide of some of the garden friendly bugs you will see.
These are scary looking bugs. They can be hard to see because of how they camouflage themselves against the plants. But if you pay close attention to areas like the petals of flowers or porch lights, you will see the praying mantis.
Mantises have big appetites. When young they will eat various aphids, leaf hoppers, mosquitoes, caterpillars and other soft-bodied insects. Later they will eat larger insects, beetles, grasshoppers, crickets, and other pest insects. Praying mantises are large, slow moving insects that catch their prey with their front legs. Mantises will ambush their prey by sitting on a plant or twig, waiting for their prey to come close and then will snatch them up.
These are definitely garden friendly bugs as they eat the bugs which like to eat your garden. You should keep a close eye out for their eggs as you definitely do not want to disturb them. It’s important to teach your children what the eggs look like. Eggs can often be found on leaves of shrubs and twigs. You will want to make sure not to place these eggs on the ground as that makes them easy prey for ants. Find a sheltered location up off the ground for these egg sacs so you can keep plenty of praying mantises in your garden.
Ladybugs are very beneficial in this sense for the garden as they are natural enemies of these sap-sucking insects. So this is a natural pesticide for these unwanted bugs in your garden.
And they are believed to be good luck as well. Not only do ladybugs eat many sap-sucking bugs a day, but they also will eat the larvae of many different bugs which are detrimental to the garden. So these voracious bugs are a must have in any garden.
The Green Lacewing is widely beneficial in attacking destructive garden insects during its larvae stage. But that doesn’t mean they are not still without their use once they become adults. At this point they help to pollinate your garden by feeding on nectar and honeydew. But for 1-3 weeks in the larvae stage they are vigorous predators, going after aphids, mites, insect eggs, thrips, mealybugs, immature whiteflies, and small caterpillars.
The larvae of a lacewing are very small and gray-brown in color. The lacewing larva vigorously attacks its prey, injects a paralyzing venom, and draws out the body fluids of its helpless victim.
The adults can live for about four to six weeks. They will feed on nectar, pollen and honeydew. In order to continue having these voracious predators laying eggs in your garden, you will want to make sure they have plenty of access to nectar, pollen, and honeydew. Without these the green lacewings will move on to find their food somewhere else. You want these insects to remain in your garden, protecting it against its biggest threats.
These three insects are just some of the insects you want to make your children aware of protecting in your garden. The most natural pesticide you can possibly use are the predators of the insects that threaten your garden. So learn what these bugs look like and plant what will help keep them around protecting your garden.
Do you know how to store fresh basil from your herb garden? Whether you are growing herbs indoors or outside, you will want to harvest the herbs and learn how to store fresh herbs to keep the plants healthy.
Herbs are a way to add extra zest to foods without adding fat. If youíve ever had cuisine with fresh herbs then you know the difference it makes. The next best thing is dried herbs. Growing and drying your own is better and cheaper than buying them from the store.
How to Store Fresh Basil and Other Herbs
Here are a few tips that always need to be observed when planning on drying herbs.
- Harvest herbs at their peak
When are herbs at their best tasting and most potent as far as oil is concerned? It occurs when they are getting ready to bloom. You will notice several buds but none will be open yet. Wait until after the morning dew has dried before cutting your leaves.
- Carefully choose your leaves
Look for healthy branches that are free of disease, damage or yellowing. Also remove any insects that might tag along on the plants. This usually isn’t a problem for indoor herb gardens.
- Wash your leaves
Remove any dirt and soil from the leaves. Use cool water and then dry with a paper towel, being careful not to rip or tear the leaves. Wet herbs will mold so make sure they are completely dry.
Methods for Storing Fresh Herbs
This involves hanging your herbs. Remove all leaves from the bottom of about four to eight stems. Bind them together gently with a rubber band or a piece of string. Place them in a paper bag with the stems protruding out. Tie the bag closed around the stems and hang in a warm, dry area. Poke holes in the bottom of the bag for air circulation.
- Tray drying
This is done for the leaves. Remove the stems and the stalks from leaves. Place the leaves in a single layer on a baking sheet or a drying tray. Large leaves can be cut into smaller pieces. Place in a warm area that is dark until drying is complete.
- Drying in an oven
You don’t actually turn the oven on when you do this. Gas ovens seem to work more efficiently with this method. Using a baking sheet again, place leaves in a single layer so they are not touching. Separate more than one layer with a paper towel. Dry overnight.
- Solar drying
This is not a very efficient method but may work for people who live in a very warm area. Place your leaves on a drying tray or an old window pane in the sun. In order for this to work, the temperature needs to be constant with low humidity (below 100 degrees F and 60% humidity). Avoid direct sunlight because leaves will fade.
Store your dried herbs in a dry, dark place in airtight jars for up to one year. Drying fresh herbs can keep your food full of flavor all year round.
How does your garden grow? Celebrate Earth Day with a family vegetable gardening project. We started our vegetable garden using High Mowing Organic Seeds in compostable seedling pots this weekend! I can’t wait to see how the plants grow – this is my first year growing real a vegetable garden!
I usually stick to growing herb indoors and in the warm summer months, I move them outside. I do have some herbs in the ground and some flowers but I’ve never planted anything in a vegetable garden.
Organic Vegetable Gardening Seeds
I was fortunate to get my seeds from High Mowing Seeds to teach my kids about environmental responsibility through planting organic seeds for vegetable gardening at home.
High Mowing Organic Seeds donated over 100,000 seed packets through our Seed Donation Program in 2011! Through their donation program, they can support organizations that provide farm and nutrition education with programs such as community gardens, school gardens, church gardens, food bank gardens, summer camps, and disaster relief groups.
We Planted a Vegetable Garden
This image makes me think of Peppa Pig and her vegetable garden – listed here in this list of Earth Day books for kids. It’s such a great way for kids to learn about planting seeds.
Chard (Beta vulgaris) is a hardy biennial in the Chenopodiacea family, which includes spinach, beets, orach and quinoa. Chard is actually a type of beet that has been specialized for leaf production. The best growing area for chard is full sun to light shade.
Organic Sweet Peppers
Sweet peppers (Capsicum annuum) are long-season, heat-loving annuals in the Solanaceae family which includes eggplants, tomatoes, tomatillos, potatoes and ground cherries. Peppers prefer light, well drained, moderately fertile soil with pH 6.5-6.8. Use a high phosphorus starter fertilizer when transplanting to give young peppers a good start. Keep nitrogen levels in moderation, as high amounts can reduce yields.
Vegetable Gardening from Seed
- Regardless of what pot you use, you’ll need seeding mix. We didn’t have seeding mix and just used garden soil. Hopefully it works!
- Put two or three seeds in each cell – that way you’re guaranteed at least one plant will grow.
- Cover the seeds up with dirt.
- Find some plastic recycling containers to make homemade greenhouses like in this post. I upcycled an old steamer container which is a perfect greenhouse! I also used some old plastic bottles to cover individual plants.
- Covering the plants help create heat and the necessary humidity for the seeds to germinate. As soon as your seeds sprout, remove the lid.
- Once your plants start growing, rotate the tray so the plants don’t get a chance to lean towards the light.
- Once the plants are established and you can see they’ve developed a good root system, repot them into individual pots, and then in the ground when they are large.
Are you doing any vegetable gardening this year? Check out the complete listing of gardening posts here to get you started!
I love growing herbs indoors and there’s nothing quite like the taste of fresh herbs in recipes you prepare. Growing herbs indoors is easier for me than gardening and I really enjoy seeing them sprout and grow large enough that I can harvest at the end of the warm summer months.
Luckily many herbs are easy to grow in small areas such as kitchen window sills. They need warmth, sunlight and water. And if your kitchen doesn’t have enough natural sunlight during the day, you can also place them in rooms with better natural sunlight. Remember that it takes about three times as much fresh herb to get the flavor of a dried seasoning, but the taste is much better.
Growing Herbs Indoors in Your Kitchen Window
Look for herbs which will remain relatively small. Those which are too wide or too tall may not fit in the area you’ve chosen to grow them. You’ll also want to consider the type of cooking you do most often and choose herbs which will match that type of cooking. Below are five herbs to grow in your kitchen window or another in your home.
This herb, which tastes like a combination of garlic and onions, can be added to homemade salad dressing, sour cream, soups or burgers. You may want to substitute chives for onions in some recipes to give your food a little different taste. These can be started from seed quite easily. Your recipe will also have a unique taste depending upon whether you use fresh or dried herbs.
Learn more about Herb Garden Plants and Their Uses here.
Basil is used in many ethnic foods such as those from Italy, Mexico or Thailand. If you’re preparing a dish with tomatoes, basil is a natural herb to choose. There are several varieties to choose from and you can either start them from seed or purchase seedlings.
Learn more about growing basil here.
Cilantro or Coriander
This is another herb which can be grown easily from seeds. Depending upon whether you’re using the leaves or allowing the herb to go to seed, you can use cilantro in Mexican or Indian cuisine.
Learn more about 6 Cooking Herbs You Need to Grow here.
Mint is a universal herb which is used in a myriad of cuisines. If you live in the South you know it can be added to iced tea. You can also use it as an ingredient in salads, jellies and desserts. It can be started as seeds or seedlings.
Learn what to do with mint here.
Thyme is often used when cooking meats and other savory dishes. It is best to start these out as seedlings so you can begin using the herb as quickly as possible.
Learn How to Grow and Harvest Fresh Herbs for Cooking here.
Seeds and seedlings for the above herbs can be found at many discount stores as well as farmer’s co-ops. If you choose to grow your herbs from seeds, follow the instructions on the packet to plant them. Before you know it, you’ll have fresh herbs to harvest and enjoy in your home cooked meals.
Make sure to read the other posts about growing herbs indoors!
I’ll be the first to admit, I am not a “real” gardener. I just always seem to be bogged down with soil issues, light issues or just plain don’t have the time to devote to it. But I really WANT to have gardening spaces in my home – inside and outside. I know my kids love it and I do too, when I allow myself the time to do it.
Below are some really cool container gardening ideas I found that are also really fairly simple to do.
Container Gardening Ideas that Make Your Home More Green
Container Gardening Vegetables
5 Herbs that are Easy Enough for Kids to Grow
Tips for Growing Your Own Herbs
Grow Green Onions in the Kitchen
DIY Palette Herb Garden
DIY Vertical Planter
How to Dry Herbs
Simple Succulent Gardening
Looking for More Container Gardening posts?
Small Space Gardening Class ON SALE!
Get space-saving strategies for turning your small backyard, balcony or windowsill into a flourishing vegetable garden!
Maximize the impact of your small garden with guidance from garden writer and renowned guest speaker Jodi Torpey! Get started by learning where to plant your garden using a sun survey for optimal results. Then, from smart pots to self-watering containers, discover best practices for popular container gardening. Next, explore the ultimate space-saving option — vertical gardens — and build a simple tepee trellis while exploring the endless possibilities that hanging planters provide! Next, whether your space is in full sun or constant shade, learn which plants work best in each environment and find out how to properly care for them. Plus, create free fertilizer from kitchen scraps, get tricks for attracting pollinators and preventing pests, and even learn how to successfully grow herbs indoors!
Click here to sign up for this awesome class – right now on SALE!
FLASH SALE on This Amazing Container Gardening Class!
Get space-saving strategies for turning your small backyard, balcony or windowsill into a flourishing vegetable garden!
Maximize the impact of your small garden with guidance from garden writer and renowned guest speaker Jodi Torpey! Get started by learning where to plant your garden using a sun survey for optimal results. Then, from smart pots to self-watering containers, discover best practices for popular container gardening.
Next, explore the ultimate space-saving option — vertical gardens — and build a simple tepee trellis while exploring the endless possibilities that hanging planters provide!
Next, whether your space is in full sun or constant shade, learn which plants work best in each environment and find out how to properly care for them. Plus, create free fertilizer from kitchen scraps, get tricks for attracting pollinators and preventing pests, and even learn how to successfully grow herbs indoors!
Click here to sign up for this class!
Lesson 1. Your Space
Lesson 2. Container Planting
Lesson 3. Maximizing Your Small Space
Lesson 4. Vegetables for Sunny Spots
Lesson 5. Vegetables for Shady Spots
Lesson 6. Healthy Gardens in Small Spaces
Lesson 7. Growing Indoors
Reviews of Vegetable Gardening: Innovative Small-Space Solutions
“This class is so full of delicious techniques and tidbits — I can hardly wait to get started on my own little garden!”
– Summer W / North Carolina
1000+ students have enrolled in this class
The Craftsy guarantee
- Watch classes on your own schedule: wherever, whenever you want.
- Your access never expires.
- 100% money back guarantee.
My kids love to help with gardening but we don’t have good soil or good sun in our backyard. That means we do a lot of container gardening with kids.]. But what grows well in containers that’s simple and something kids will enjoy? Simply put, pretty much any vegetable or herb will grow well in a container as long as there’s enough room.
Container Gardening with Kids
We like to work on growing herbs indoors in the winter but during the warm months it’s fun to be outside. So let’s narrow this list of container gardening with kidsoptions. Here are the ten best plants that you can grow in containers with children.
This is probably the most popular choice for growing in containers. Tomatoes are easy to grow; they can even be done from a hanging container and grow upside down. Using good soil and the right amount of water is what’s needed to make tomatoes grow well in containers.
You can grow a large amount of potatoes in containers like compost bags or a large tub. Read my post about Growing Potatoes in Any Climate
These are easy to grow in containers, but they need the right conditions. They grow best in warm temperatures so don’t plant until early summer for best results.
These are so simple to grow and do really well in containers. So they’re a really great starter vegetable to grow with children. Check out How To Grow Fairy Carrots In Jars from The Empress of Dirt!
These grow well in containers, but only with the right conditions. They ripen best in heat so they’re best saved for the summer. They require rain water too, so grow them outdoors unless you are able to collect the rain water in something. They won’t do well with tap water.
This is great in a window box. It takes a while to germinate though and requires heat. Also, be sure to use a rich soil. But in the end, parsley is both rewarding and a healthy option that you can harvest and store in the freezer! Read A Guide To Growing Your Own Herb Garden for more parsley information.
Put it in the window box with parsley, but be warned: this does not do well at all with cold. So make sure there is not going to be any frost. Basil has a few weeks’ germination time, though, so it grows quicker than parsley. There is nothing better than fresh basil on pizza – my kids love it! Read Growing Basil at Home Indoors.
This is probably the easiest vegetable to grow in a container and will really get the kids excited. So this is the perfect choice.
This is actually a great choice for container gardening with kids. Water in the morning and make sure it is kept in the shade and you’ll have a quick and easy plant in a container in no time. Read more about growing lettuce in containers here.
It doesn’t have to be vegetables alone that you plant in containers. Potted plants such as geraniums, petunias, mums, and sunflowers are great in a pot and something kids will love to help cultivate.
Planting anything with kids can be a whole lot of fun and very educational. Getting kids to eat more vegetables, then planting some sort of garden will be a huge help in that. Letting them get their hands dirty and eating the food they make is a huge incentive for even the pickiest of eaters.
So don’t think just because you don’t have a lot of room you can’t create some sort of garden. Hanging tomatoes and window boxes with herbs and including some containers on your porch of radishes and potatoes and you’re off to a great start -gardening with the kids and getting them to try more fruits and vegetables.
What have you grown in containers before?
Make sure you download this FREE Container Gardening guide!
Make sure you check out all of the Container Gardening posts here!
Homemade Winter Garden and Bird Feeder Ideas
How does your winter garden grow? Did you know it is possible to grow vegetables in the winter? There are also lots of homemade bird feeder ideas to keep your winter garden alive with activity and keep it from succumbing to the winter blues. I find having birds in my winter garden helps with my overall mood, seeing life and activity in the midst of cold and ice.
Check out this awesome roundup of winter garden and bird feeder ideas! Make sure to link up if you have more to share.