From enjoying fresh produce to getting active, there are several reasons to get your hands dirty this spring. If you’ve been considering growing fresh fruits and veggies but don’t know where to start, follow these simple tips and tricks to grow your gardening abilities.

Find Your Roots

Find Your Roots

You don’t need a vast meadow, expensive sprinkler system or professional greenhouse to grow a garden. In fact, you don’t even need a yard! If you have a windowsill, balcony or small patch of grass that gets six hours of sunlight each day, then you have a space to garden.

Pick Your Tools

Pick Your Tools

In the budding stages, you only need a few tools. Shop your local hardware or dollar store for affordable options to start you off on the right foot. You’ll need:

  • A small hand shovel with a sharp tip
  • Gardening gloves
  • Shears
  • A pot that drains (if needed)
  • Nutrient-rich potting soil (if using a pot or box)

Dig In

Now it’s time to plant your seeds and watch them grow! If you’re gardening in the ground, clear your area of rocks and other roots to give your seeds room to grow and flourish. Then, loosen the soil with your shovel until the ground is soft, and add your seeds! Follow the instructions for each seed to ensure it has everything it needs to grow happily. An herb like basil or cilantro may have totally different needs than berries and squash, so always read before you plant.

Watch It Grow

Water is the number one resource to keep your plants alive and strong. Strive to give your plants at least an inch of water a week but avoid over-watering. Keep an eye on the weather. If Mother Nature provides the rain, then skip a few days! Fertilization can also help your garden flourish, but it isn’t necessary. Follow the steps on the seeds’ packaging and add nutrients if needed.

What To Plant

What To Plant

Plenty of veggies are beginner friendly. If you’re a budding gardener, here are five veggies that are easy to grow and tasty to enjoy.

  • Lettuce: If you’re looking for a year-round option that likes shade, choose lettuce. Lettuce is versatile and goes with almost any sandwich or salad recipe you have up your sleeve. It’s also easy to harvest. Simply pluck your full-grown leaf, wash and enjoy! Try your fresh lettuce in this classic recipe.
  • Zucchini: Zucchini takes up a lot of space in the garden, so set aside a few feet of soil, or give it a solo box on the patio. However, this squash produces very rapidly. If you plant zucchini, you’ll have plates to fill for weeks to come! Try our Zucchini Bread recipe for a great grab-and-go breakfast option.
  • Green Beans: These beans love warm climates and grow FAST. Plant them in the ground to grab bushels at a time or in a windowsill for quick snacking. Add green beans as a side to almost any dish!
  • Carrots: Carrots add the perfect crunch to any meal. When planting carrots, space them widely apart in loose soil to give their roots room to flourish. If you like a little sweetness and a little spice, try our Maple-Glazed Carrot
  • Cucumbers: Plant these water-filled snacks next to a fence and watch them climb! Cucumbers require very little hands-on maintenance, so they are perfect for beginners. Serve them in a salad or with dip.

There are endless ways to enjoy veggies

Reap What You Sow

Every veggie is different, so do your research to know when to harvest them! For example, you’ll know green beans are ready when the shell is firm and easily snaps. Use your garden shears to snip veggies close to the stem or use your hands to pull from the roots. Give your veggies a scrub or wash them in vinegar to make sure they’re safe to eat.

There are endless ways to enjoy veggies. Whether you prefer your veggies roasted to a crisp, soft in a sauté or raw and crunchy, here are some recipes to spark inspiration:

  • Vegetable Tian
    Put your fresh-picked zucchini to good use! This veggie-filled recipe is loaded with flavor and adaptable to whatever veggies you have on hand.
  • Cranberry Carrot Muffins
    Add some sweetness to your breakfast with this muffin recipe.
  • Cucumber, Lime & Thyme Infused Water
    Another way to add veggies into your daily routine: Add them to your water! If your water needs a bit of variety, add fresh cucumbers to your glass.
  • Shake-It-Up Chicken Caesar Salad
    Your freshly picked lettuce will make a great addition to this Caesar salad recipe. Shred a few leaves and use them as a base for your favorite salads and bowls.
  • Green Bean Potato Salad
    This hearty dish is packed with flavor and a cool twist on a picnic classic. Chop up your fresh green beans and add them to this recipe.

In short: You don’t need a green thumb to grow a green garden. Follow these tips and have fun! For more tips on what to plant during any season, check out our seasonal produce guide.