So you want to get started with growing your own vegetables and herbs but have no idea where to begin? Here are a few tips to get you off the ground…or, in the ground:

  • Consult your grocery list. You already have a trusted source of what foods you buy most. Always shopping for lettuce, parsley, or chives? Put them in pots by your kitchen door and shorten the trip to the “produce aisle.” Consider what foods are most expensive to buy, such as fresh tomatoes by the pound or colorful, sweet peppers.  Those two are also heavy producers per plant, so you’ll reduce your bill and serve a little homegrown pride on the plate.
  • What are your favorite foods? You’ll love them even more when you get to know those ingredients as they grow in your garden and serve freshly picked.
  • …And, throw that last tip out the window. Grow your least favorite foods. You might be surprised that you've been turned off by a bland imposter all along. Sound crazy? I used to *hate* tomatoes. With wrinkled nose and clenched fists, I’d run far, far away from those gelatinous pink-white slices. I could even tell when my mom put a slice on my turkey sandwich and remembered at the last minute to remove it. "Essence of goo," is what my taste buds could detect. Now that David and I grow our own sun-ripened gems, I cannot get enough. We pour over hundreds of descriptions in seed catalogs. I mourn their absence in winter and count days until we can plant. (Good news! This weekend is when danger of frost has passed for our area. We are planting summer crops in the Cooking Light garden this weekend.)
  • Lastly, feed your curiosity.  Try something new that sounds like an adventure. We couldn’t resist the name of Golden Treasure sweet pepper for the Cooking Light garden and it turned out to be one of my all-time favorites. The Lao Green Stripe eggplant looked like green-veined eyeballs in the catalog and sounded too cool to pass up. Read the verdict on that experiment in our Summer Cookbook special in the June issue.