Growing a full, fruitful garden can take immense time and dedication. Not to mention, it can take years of practice to understand what types of plants are best in each climate, when to plant them, if they should be grown from seeds, etc. Luckily, some fruit, veggie, and herb plants actually grow well under almost any circumstances. Some plants are amazingly hearty and will bear produce all year round for you. Here is what you need to know about growing healthy foods from your backyard, in a pot, or even indoors.
Start Early if You’re Growing From Seeds
If you plan to grow organically or just want the accomplishment of nurturing a plant from the stages of infancy, start growing ahead of time. Plant your seedlings indoors about 6 weeks from when you intend to implant them into your soil. You’ll want to have enough time to let the seedlings grow sturdy roots that won’t be shocked easily from the transplanting process.
Most folks like to start gardening during the springtime in order to receive a large harvest when summer comes around. So, if you are starting from seeds you’ll need to start growing about 6 weeks before the last frost of the year. Once the ground starts to thaw begin to plant your seedlings according to their needs. Do as much research on your plant as possible to understand the type of weather it prefers. For example, if it is a full-sun fruit bearing plant like strawberries, you might not want to transplant it while the ground is still quite cold. On the other hand plants like peas and beans don’t mind a little bit of chill.
Know What Your Plant Needs
Each plant prefers a particular type of climate, amount of sunlight, and frequency of watering. Make sure you treat each of your plants like an individual. While many of these plants require little pampering and care, they will still need occasional love. Take a look at the leaves and soil of the plant as often as possible.
If your leaves are beginning to change color it is most likely because of a change in watering, sunlight, or some other factor, like pests. Yellowing leaves are usually a sign that the plant is dying. If you see any discoloration in your plant take a closer look at the surroundings of where the plant is kept as well as the leaves themselves. All plants need sunlight, but some are sensitive to too much direct sunlight or they will overheat. So, if the leaves are wilting try to give your plants shade for a couple of hours each day. Make sure to keep an eye out for the opposite as well. Plants that are stretching outside of a pot towards the sunlight most likely want a little bit more sunlight each day.
When the soil is dry then you know it is time for another watering. If it’s still damp then give it some time. Of course, under-watering can kill a plant quickly, but overwatering can be just as harmful. Often times soil will begin to develop mold and mushrooms if the soil isn’t allowed to properly drain and dry out.
Understand Natural Predators
In addition to mold and mushrooms, wet soil can welcome nasty predators to plants, like bugs and animals. Keeping the soil at a comfortable temperature and dampness will not only make the plant happy, but will also keep out unnecessary pests. Some insects are essential to the fruiting of your plants – like bees. So, some produce bearing plants need to be pollinated in order to grow the food you would like to eat. You will notice these plants as they grow pretty flowers before they are able to start budding fruit.
Although, many plants just naturally attract unwelcomed visitors. Holes in leaves or fruit could point to a bird or insects that are enjoying your fruit. Missing produce entirely could lead to a much larger animal such as a skunk, cat, dog, or deer nibbling on your precious plants. Growing any plant outside runs the risk of pesky intruders. Stay up to date about common animals and insects in your area and if necessary take a look at easy to make non-toxic repellents for them as well.
Plants That Grow Well Just About Anywhere:
- Green beans and peas – Grow quite quickly. Growing in pots or directly into the soil is okay. They are likely to get scorched by the hot sun if they are grown too late in the season.
- Strawberries – Do very well early in the spring, but can get scorched by hot sun. They will fruit for several months.
- Beets and radishes – Seedlings can be grown very early directly in the soil. They grow very quickly.
- Onions and scallions – Don’t need a lot of sun. So, they should grow great in pots or early in the season.
- Salad greens – Grow great just about anywhere. Just make sure to water thoroughly and watch for pests.
- Tomatoes – Start seedlings indoors as early as possible. Tomatoes take months to start fruiting, but will provide a hefty harvest.
- Peppers – Begin seedlings early Spring. They love hot weather and full sun.
- Herbs like: basil, cilantro, and rosemary – Can be grown anytime. Do great indoors. Keep away from pets.
There are tons of other plants that are just as easy to grow as the ones listed above. However, each of these can be grown in the ground, in a pot, or even indoors. Any plant that receives proper sunlight, watering, and care will flourish and provide months or even years of loyal fruiting. What’s more, being aware of the plant’s surroundings and natural predators will help it grow up healthy and strong.
Written By Trisha Miller