After you have figured out the concept of planting with seeds or plants, you can then decide what you want to grow. Naturally, for your first project you will want to make it easy on yourself. Some of the easiest fruits and vegetables that you can grow include the following:
- Squash (including pumpkins)
- Lima beans
These are all easy fruits and vegetables to grow. As we all have been told hundreds of times since childhood, tomatoes are a fruit and not a vegetable, so we will call them what they are, although for all intent purposes, they are treated and eaten as vegetables.
Tomatoes are the easiest of all of the fruits/vegetables to grow. Not only that, but they are also easy to can. We will talk about preserving vegetables for use throughout the year in later chapters. Suffice to say, that tomatoes, because they are fruits, are easy to can using a hot water bath.
You can find a garden store close to home or one that is online. If you live in a four season climate, chances are that you will be able to grow all of the above and more These are the vegetables that you want to get started with.
Of course, if you plan to grow all of these vegetables, you will need a sizeable garden. You can choose the vegetables that your family eats most of all of the time and grow them. You should also consider storage. Growing lettuce, for example, is great for salads and relatively easy to do, but it does not freeze or preserve. Turnips, carrots, onions and potatoes will keep well in a root cellar and will store for the winter.
If you do not have a root cellar, you can make one when you follow the instructions that are in this book. It’s not hard and just takes a bid of digging and keeping an area water proof. If you have your own cellar, you can save the trouble.
The worst thing that you can do when you are starting your own garden, is to get overwhelmed by planting too many vegetables. Think of those that you buy often, or would like to buy often, and go with them. As for me, I chose the root vegetables, tomatoes, peppers and broccoli. This year, I will grow squash and corn along with the vegetables I grew last year. I am also growing several vegetables from seeds.
Start out with a few vegetables that you eat often and each year, add a new vegetable to your garden. By growing the vegetables that you use often, you can save a lot of money every month on your food bill. The amount of money that you save each month will depend on how large the garden and how many vegetables you consume. Remember that you will be saving some of them, in various ways, to use for the winter months spring before the next harvest.
Space is a factor when you are planning your vegetable garden. Some vegetables or fruits, such as tomatoes and peppers, do not require a lot of room for growth. Root vegetables are also easy to grow as they grow down into the ground and do not take up a lot of room. Corn and squash take a lot more space so you may have to clear more room for them.
Another factor that you have to consider when you are growing vegetables to save money is that they may not look like those you see in the store. Many vegetables that are grown for mass production are aided with food dyes and waxed so that they look more attractive in the store.
Your home grown vegetables are not likely to be as large, or as colorful, as the vegetables that you grow in the store. But they will be organic and healthier. And when it comes to taste, they will also taste just as good if not better than those that you purchase in the store.
Once you have established the vegetables that you are planning on growing, you must then learn the planting and harvesting times for these vegetables. Most vegetables are planted in the early to late spring, after the weather breaks and it is not likely to have a frost. Harvest time for most vegetables comes in early to late summer to early fall, depending on the vegetables. Tomatoes, for example, will be harvested early. As will peppers and cucumbers and some squash, as zucchini.
Other vegetables are harvested a bit later such as the root vegetables. Usually, the longer you can keep them in the ground, the better. When the leaves start to get brittle, it is time to dig them up. Corn and squash are autumn harvest, such as pumpkins and butternut squash. Lettuce and eggplants are harvested in late summer and early autumn.
Much depends on the region where you live. In some areas of the country, you can get corn in August. Tomatoes are usually harvested from July to August, but can be later in some parts of the country, especially in the warmer weather. There are different rules for harvesting on the East Coast than there are in the Midwest regions of the country. Here is a list of when you can (roughly) expect to harvest the above mentioned vegetables:
- Tomatoes – Harvest in early summer to late summer (July and August).
- Peppers – Harvest in mid summer to early autumn (Late July to September)
- Cucumbers – Harvest in mid summer to early autumn (Late July to September)
- Onions – Harvest in mid to late summer (August to early September)
- Eggplant – Harvest in mid summer to late summer (Late July to August)
- Potatoes – Harvest in early autumn to late autumn (September to early October)
- Lettuce – Harvest in Late summer (August to early September)
- Squash – Harvest in early to late autumn (late September to mid October)
- Turnips – Harvest in mid autumn (September)
- Carrots – Harvest in mid autumn (September)
- Lima Beans – Harvest in mid summer (August)
- Corn – Harvest in late August (in some areas) to September
- Broccoli – Harvest in mid to late summer (August to early September)
Once you have an idea of what you want to grow and when you can expect the vegetables (or fruits) to be ready for harvest, you can then start getting your garden ready to grow.