Growing vegetables is no more complicated that it was when you were in kindergarten and sprouted your first bean seed. The only difference is, you’ve got a lot more than Play-doh to occupy you during the day. Follow these steps to save time and make your edible garden as fun and rewarding as it was when PB&J was on the menu and a kiss on the playground didn’t warrant a harassment investigation.
PLAN YOUR GARDEN — NOW CUT THAT PLAN IN HALF
Most of us plant far more than we need. That means more maintenance, more water, more stress and more time hollering at your kids or significant other to do some weeding. A tomato plant can bear more than 15 pounds of fruit a season. One plant. Consider this and share those six-pack seedlings with a friend.
USE RAISED BEDS OR CONTAINERS FOR EDIBLES
Though you may need to use a little more water, a raised bed or container sets your vegetables apart from lawn and weeds and makes maintenance manageable. You can see what you have to do in an instant – and are more likely to do it. You’re also more likely not to over-plant with boundaries in place.
SCHEDULE A SPECIFIC TIME EACH DAY TO TEND YOUR GARDEN
With busy schedules and a blazing summer sun to contend with, it’s easy to let the garden get out of hand. Set aside time just as you would to go to the gym or make dinner. For most people, this is early in the morning, before work or life gets in the way – and it’s one of the most satisfying ways of starting your day. If you have to be to work in the early morning, don’t fret, watering in the afternoon or early evening allows the plants several sunless hours to absorb water. Oh and don’t bring your phone – even to take tomato selfies. Just savor the moment.
KEEM NEEM OIL AND Bt SPRAY ON HAND FOR EMERGENCIES
These organic pesticides kept in handy spray bottles will make it easier for you to cope with the pests that will inevitably find your garden. Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) based sprays will take care of cabbage worms, leaf miners and thrips. Neem oil will target sucking pests like aphids, mealybugs and mites. Don’t panic the minute you see insects. Monitor the situation instead and spray in the early morning if populations are steadily growing.
Research suggests that gardening is one of the top stress busters for women, offers physical exercise and supports mental health, so c’mon — get out there and garden! Wow your friends with a gourmet salad or a stir-fry whipped up from your own garden and feel GREAT about it. It’s worth a little dirt under the nails, don’t you think?