Yesterday we had a Minnesota false winter also known as a ripe 38 degrees Fahrenheit. (enter laughing crying face here) Some of you southerners are probably thinking, thats still winter, but for us northerners when our winter average ranges from -15 to 21 degrees, it felt like I was about to whip out my earth runners sandals and get the garden going!
I’ve recently been thinking of the garden ALOT. I’m so excited for our plans this year, (more on this later), and it got me thinking about how far I have come. From growing in a 8 foot by 2 foot watering trough to what we have now, it’s been a journey!
I buy all of my gardening seeds from True Leaf Market this company is by far my favorite company to work with as they provide organic and heirloom seeds. Heirloom means it’s a plant that has been a great producer from generation to generation, and are open pollinated which basically means there’s no need for human intervention. Organic meaning seed from plants grown by farmers that don’t use synthetic pesticides, or GMO technologies.
True leaf Market is fantastic for beginners as they offer assortments of all sorts, salsa, medicinal, summer, fall, culinary herbs. These assortments have every seed you’d need all in one bundle. It’s a pretty fantastic gig!
So lets’ break down easy growing for beginners! This blog we will focus only on the plants, and leave the logistics to another blog.
I’ll break down 4 plants and why they are so easy to work with! First up:
I would say regular tomatoes but those can be overwhelming sometimes, they tend to cat-face (split, scar like lines) or have blossom end-rot (bottom rot) each year I learn more and more about tomatoes, they are a fascinating family.
But with cherry tomatoes you’ll find yourself feeling like a garden pro, as they are easy, bountiful, and so so rewarding. These little red ripe fruits are delicious to pop in your mouth as a tasty gardening treat. When I grow cherry tomatoes I will harvest an abundance, slice them, then dehydrate at 130* until they are fully done (about 5-8 hours) then place them in a grinder and grind them to a powder. This powder is perfect to add to tomato sauce, and other sauces, its pretty much a dried tomato paste, add a little water and your good to go! I’ve been doing this for about two years, and its been a go to for me!
If your looking for an herb that pairs well with tomatoes, look no further than basil. Tomatoes and basil share soil and areas well together, I plant these two fairly close to each other. Basil is a fantastic pollinator to have in the garden! Their sweet aroma is a beautiful smell to have in the garden and it attracts butterflies and sweet honey bees. Not only is it easy to grow (just add water and sun!) but its fantastic fresh, or dried, or even steeped! Yes, you read that right! Basil tea is fantastic! Fill a jar half full of basil and pour hot water over the top, steep for a bit, and add honey and it literally taste like summer in a jar! Yum! I grow multiple types of basil in my garden, Holy Basil (I have a whole highlight on this herb on my instagram, pretty amazing stuff!) and regular Sweet Basil! both are fantastic!
If you want to look like a pro, cucumbers are the way to go. These plants are extremely low maintenance and will give you a plentiful harvest every time. This place DOES need a bit a of space tho, as it spreads out. You can do mini or regular cucumbers, mini is commonly used and great for pickles, and regular is great for snacks, salads, and pickling as well! Personally I don’t grow these, I go to the farmers market for them as my family just doesnt consume them like they do other plants.
Now some may disagree but I feel that onions are literally the easiest plant ever to grow. We plant onion bulbs when the ground thaws. (when the soil temperature reaches about 50 degrees, which is fairly cool still) And they do their thing! It was wonderful having onions in our cellar, we just actually used our last one so this year I plan on doubling my growth with onions. They are ready to pick when the stalks dry up and lay down flat on the ground. Then you simply hang them in an airflow sunny spot outside, and let them “cure” the outer sides dry out creating a paper life feel to them, and they keep for so long! We harvested in august and just used up our last one in January! nearly 5 months!
But listen guys, the best way to learn is to START. You’ll find yourself learning every year. I have been reallllly gardening for about 10 years now and I learn something every year. Last year I had cabbage worms eat my broccoli alive last year. I learned from that, and brought you along! (if this happens to you diatomaceous earth works well, it’s organic and edible, they are dried up shelled organisms that the worms eat and it dehydrates them and that die. This is even fantastic for chickens if they get mites)
Just start, it doesn’t have to be big, grab a pot and plant something in it. Learn as you go, you don’t need to know everything! Its the beauty of letting nature teach you!