Grow Your Own Vegetables
Want to save some cash on your grocery bills and embrace a new hobby as a family? Why not skip the produce aisle and grow your own vegetables instead? You don’t need a ton of space in your backyard, just a small patch set aside, and even gardening novices will find that growing vegetables is relatively simple once you get the hang of it. Try out some of these gardening favorites this year.
If you’re the kind of person who loves to munch a big bowl of salad for lunch every day, you could certainly benefit from growing your very own lettuce heads in your backyard. Lettuce is fairly straightforward to grow- they can be planted in simple rows for easy mulching, and there is plenty of variety in different types of lettuce, so you can plant a range of lettuce types and mix and match your leaves when it comes to eating them.
The main issue many gardeners face in growing lettuce is bolting- when leaves stop growing due to plants going to seed. This problem is usually caused by excessively high temperatures, so avoid bolting by planting your lettuces in a shaded area, or alongside other plants that will provide shade as they grow.
Peppers are a common family favorite, and luckily for those new to gardening, they’re relatively easy to grow. You can start off your pepper plants in pots and then transplant them over to your vegetables patch once the weather is warm enough. Once your green peppers are large enough they can easily be picked and eaten, or you can leave them longer to sweeten and turn red or yellow. If you come across smaller peppers that seem to be stunting the growth of the other vegetables, just pick them off to allow the others room to grow.
Onions are a great addition to your vegetable patch- they can add flavor and variety to a range of dishes and are easily stored for use all year round. Make sure that your soil is moist enough and has adequate drainage, and then plant your onion bulbs early enough in the season that they have time to mature (they usually need around 3-5 months). Keep your onion bulbs warm by covering with cloche or a row cover, and harvest the onions as soon as the tops begin to wither and turn yellow.
If you’re planning to plant peas this year, you’ll need to ensure that your soil is well drained and that you have a medium height trellis set up for the peas to climb as they grow. Peas only take around 50-60 days to season, and will likely be one of the first vegetables that you harvest, so they’re a good option for impatient gardeners who are hoping to see the fruits of their labor sooner rather than later. Sow the pea seeds thickly and directly into the ground- consider a raised bed to improve the growing results. Not only are peas a nutritious and delicious addition to your meals, they also improve the health of your soil as they grow.