Vegetable and Herb Garden

This is a long overdue email but I’ve been busy in the yard weeding and planting my garden. One of the best perks of home ownership and a yard is the ability to have a garden. This is the second year I’ve planted an herb and vegetable garden. With all the imported and shipped vegetables at grocery stores you never know how many miles they’ve traveled before they reach your kitchen.  I love being able to go in the backyard to get herbs or fresh vegetables and know they only traveled a few yards before we eat them. It doesn’t get any closer than that.
The first thing to know about vegetables and gardening is ANYONE can do it! I’m not a gardening expert but I’ve learned a lot from family and friends and had a plethora of vegetables last year. A successful garden doesn’t have to come with experience. Trial and error along with water, sun and some TLC are the best ingredients for starting your own garden. If you don’t have a yard a good idea would be to get a pot for herbs or a tomato plant. We cleared the space for our vegetable garden last year from a preexisting bed of hosta flowers. After much work removing the hostas and sharing them with neighbors and friends my mom graciously helped me till the space with shovels and mix in peat moss.  My husband finished it off with the toughest job; digging a trench for a fence to keep our dog and neighborhood rabbits out.
Last summer we had great results with: kale, green beans (although the rabbits ate them all before we did), spring lettuce, cilantro, yellow squash and zucchini from seeds. We also had great outcomes with bell peppers, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, basil, rosemary and oregano that we bought as plants. On the other hand our snap peas, onions, eggplant and cucumbers didn’t do well.
This summer I decided to keep a lot of the vegetables that grew well and we love such as: kale, peppers (habanero, jalapeno, banana and bell), green beans, zucchini and tomatoes. I also decided to try arugula, butter lettuce, one last shot at  cucumbers and expand our herbs to basil, oregano, dill, sage, mint, rosemary and a row of cilantro. After wishing I had more than 8 tomato plants last summer (we had no trouble eating them) we went up to 12 plants this year. That means we will have an endless supply of homemade salsa (likely spicy with the addition of our habanero peppers) and a few pots of  marinara sauce, tomato soup and tomato juice for Bloody Mary’s during football season.
  
I’m sure you will hear me talk about all the food I prepare this summer from my garden so stay tuned.If you are looking for more information on gardening check out some of the resources below:
American Institute of Cancer Research: When to Plant Foods that Fight Cancer
University of Minnesota-Extension: Planting the Vegetable Garden
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