Growing a garden can take many shapes and sizes. For the serious die hards, a garden will take over a portion of the yard. Homemade grow boxes are filled with specially mixed compost, organic plants and a specialized watering system. If you are one of those gardeners, good for you. But if you are the other 98 percent, don’t get overwhelmed by overzealous gardening.
I used to think that gardening required fancy tools, hours pruning leaves and a very experienced green thumb. But then I learned something that changed my gardening perspective: your garden is a reflection of how much time you can spend. You don’t have to spend hours in the garden if you don’t want to. But the key is the time you put into it is how much you will get out of it. So if I only want a few tomatoes each year, minimal time can be spent. If I want to live off the land and teach my kids about real dirt, I will get bigger results.
If you are like me and want a garden but do not want to slave over it, you are in luck. There are many, hearty plants that are meant for gardeners like you and me. Here is a short list and inconclusive list of some easy to grow plants to get your garden started.
- Zucchini. This is the ultimate easy to grow plant. The vegetable plant grows like a weed with minimal care. All you need is ample sun and good water (sprinklers are usually good enough), and you will have more zucchini than you know what to do with. The only caution about zucchini is that the fruit grows fast and discreetly. You will go out one day and find a three-foot long veggie. Keep an eye on the plant to pick the fruit when it is about a foot long; that is when it is as its tastiest. Give the plant ample room to spread its leaves and enjoy. (The same rules apply for yellow squash.)
- Tomatoes. Tomatoes in any variety (cherry, grape, heirloom, roma, etc.) are easy to grow and often produce an ample amount of fruit. There are two ways you can grow tomatoes: plant the tomato plant in the ground and grow up with a wire trellis or get a hanging tomato plant and grow down. Tomatoes need ample water and sunlight, but don’t require any other special growing instructions.
- Herbs. Heart herbs like rosemary, oregano and thyme are perfect for newbies. In most cases, you can plant and forget (sun and water are needed) and these fragrant and tasty herbs will continue to grow perennially. In fact, all three of those plants have lasted through two winters in my garden. The plants perk up in the spring and I can use them all year long.
As a newbie, check with an employee at your local nursery for plants ideal for your area. Consider using plant starts instead of seeds for quicker results.