Scared you don’t have a green thumb, but want enjoy fresh fruits and veggies straight from your backyard? Here is my list of top, “fool proof,” plants that I plant every year, and that grow with minimal effort on my part.
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In addition to planting things that are easy to grow, when I plan what to put in my garden, I prefer to plant things that are hard to find, or plants that are expensive in grocery stores, such as herbs, tomatoes, etc. As someone who tries to eat as organic as possible (especially when it comes to the “DIRTY DOZEN” of foods you should always eat organic READ MORE HERE), produce gets really expensive, so I try to grow as much as possible.
I start most of my seeds indoors before planting outside. I recommend always using Non-GMO Heirloom and Organic seeds. I bought an organic heirloom seed bank a few years ago and have been using seeds from that ever since. I’m having fun testing out all the different plants to see what I can grow!
Shop these Organic Heirloom Seeds:
Tomatoes are my number one plant to grow in my garden. I love Italian cooking, and can’t get enough of tomato recipes (CLICK HERE FOR A BOMB TOMATO PIE) throughout the summer. Last year I had so many tomatoes I started canning them, and I’m going to try to do more of that this year. Using self-canned tomatoes really gave some meals I made this winter that “fresh from the garden,” taste.
It is best to start your tomatoes indoors before moving them outside, and you might want to get a tomato cage, but once you have a seedling in the ground all you need to do is watch it and let it grow!
Ship’s Tip: When a tomato plant starts sprouting branches in between an already established branch, and the stalk (right in the “V” part where the stalk and branch meet), pick off the newly sprouting branch so your tomato plant grows stronger and has a better yield.
Have I told you that I like Italian cooking? I love making PESTO in the summertime, so I grow a ton of basil! Nothing beats some fresh, chopped basil leaves on a bowl of pasta either. With basil seeds, you can literally just throw the seeds on the soil, water, and they will grow!
I still like to start some plants indoors to get a head start on growing, but I always throw some extra seeds in the ground when I’m planting my seedlings to have my basil flowering at different times.
Ship’s Tip: If you want your basil plants to last long into the fall, cut the tops off your plant when they start to flower. When the end of growing season rolls around, leave some flowers on your plants so you can collect tons of basil seeds for next year!
Before my basil plants died last year, I made some cuttings and put a bouquet of basil stems in a glass vase by my kitchen window. The stems grew roots, and by just refreshing the water and rinsing the roots occasionally throughout the fall and winter, I had enough fresh basil all winter to use on pasta dishes (especially on my favorite, GARLIC PASTA).
Peas are another vine plant that need a trellis, or something to climb. Last year, I had some corn stalks, and planted my peas in between the corn so the peas could climb the stalks! Worked very well.
Who doesn’t like mojitos in the summer time!? Can’t beat a strawberry-mint lemonade, or cold, mint-infused water either!
Mint is a perennial that grows like a weed. Best to grow in a container too (or put a container in the ground with the bottom cut out) because it literally spreads like weeds too and will take over your garden if planted in ground without a barrier to keep it from spreading.
A great immune booster (see THIS POST for my immune boosting supplement recommendations), and butterfly attractor, echinacea is a great perennial to have in the garden. I sewed my echinacea seeds directly into the ground when it is warm enough to start planting outside. You can cut and dry the flowers for the best tasting tea you’ve ever had! Find REUSABLE TEA INFUSERS HERE.
I like planting sunflowers because they’re pretty to look at. I also like that they attract pollinators, and can serve as bird food (to help keep the birds from getting to your precious tomatoes and other food!). If you enjoy eating sunflower seeds yourself too, you can always roast and save the seeds for yourself!
SHOP ALL YOUR GARDEN ESSENTIALS HERE:
Throw some zinnia seeds in the ground, water, and watch them grow! Zinnia attract tons of butterflies (and other pollinators) to your garden, so that is my primary reason for growing them. In addition to picking tomatoes every day last year, Greta just loved watching (and trying too touch!) all the butterflies that were on our zinnias. They produce a lot of blooms in a variety of colors, and make great cut flowers as well.
If you’re a fan of organic gardening, you might want to plant some marigold in your garden to help control pests in your garden. In addition to repelling pests, I have read that the smell also repels snakes!
Last year, I planted a marigold plant in each corner of my garden to help repel pests and ended up having to pull some of the plants out because the marigold plants got so big they started overtaking my raised beds! I thought all marigolds were just small bushes, but apparently not. I guess that’s what I get for using unlabeled, mystery marigold seeds from my dad! 😉
My two garden helpers!
Once all my plants are in the ground, aside from making sure my garden is prepped properly before planting, I really don’t do too much in my garden, but water and pull weeds. I probably could have tended to things a little better last year (as you can probably see in some pictures from last year that I included in this post), but things get busy sometimes, especially with a baby!
I hope this post encourages you to get out and plant something this year! Be sure to comment if you have any questions, and also tell me your favorite “easy to grow” plants.
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