Do you want to maintain a healthy and balanced diet without limiting the amount of pesticide residue on your foods? Don’t we all! Well, the best option is to grow your own food at home naturally, all you need is a nice little patch of soil or a sunny place for potted plants. Additionally, this will help trim down on your food expenses while encouraging less food waste, as you can just pick what you need and let the rest grow and look pretty.
Our vegetable garden including kale, tomatoes, and green beans
Every year my family grows a summer garden, surely winters in New York can be very harsh and unless you have a greenhouse it is impossible to continue growing outdoors. However, you could re-pot some of your summer plants and bring them indoors for the winter. I have successfully done this with bay, rosemary, mint and basil in previous years. Once the warmer months are back, I replant them outdoors. It’s quite easy with a little know how, especially if you follow container gardening guides online.
If you want to start producing your own food at home, here’s a short list of my favorite easy-to-grow edible plants, that are ideal for newbie green thumbs.
Basil, grown in our garden
The smell of basil lifts the soul, and can aid mental alertness in time of fatigue. Basil is also high in Vitamin A, C & K, and fiber. It is an annual that has to be planted every season, and can be grown from seed easily enough. Basil complements the tomato plant, this is beneficial for many reasons like pest control; some bugs do not like the strong scent of basil so they will stay away from the tomatoes, which means more for you! In this example of companion planting, both basil and tomato have the same growth requirements being plenty of sunlight and water, and high temperatures to grow.
Nice bunch of homegrown tomatoes
There is nothing like the genuine taste of a homegrown tomato. Not to mention the pure pride of growing them from scratch. Tomato is a low-calorie food, and they are also low in fat which makes them a popular food if you are watching your weight. Interestingly, it is said that cooked tomatoes are actually better for you than raw ones, as more beneficial chemicals are released during this process.
Tomatoes need constant attention and maintenance to ensure a healthy harvest. For example, if you see “suckers” growing in the crotch joint of two branches, you want to make sure you pinch them off. This is not going to bare any fruit, and will only take energy away from the rest of the plant, and we you not want that.
Teaching Miles how to recognize a rosemary plant
Rosemary is a versatile plant that has been enjoyed around the world probably since the beginning of time. It is a fantastic as a hair rinse, and smelling the plant is said to help with mental clarity and concentration. My husband likes to make oven-roasted focaccia bread with olive oil, sea salt and fresh rosemary sprigs – delicious.
Keep in mind that this bushy plant is not a fan of a lot of water, and enjoys living in well-drained soil. Also, rosemary is easier to grow from a seedling, than starting at scratch with a seed.
Drying rosemary, maintains its flavor and fragrance, so if you experience ungrowable winters you can still enjoy your harvest throughout the year.
The sunny dandelion is a super food which is so much more than what most here in the United States consider a weed. Each dandelion plant is jam-packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to help you live a healthier life. It is also fascinating that science tells us that this plant has lived on earth for 30 million years!!
Dandelions have been eaten as a food, consumed as a drink, prescribed as a medicine, used as a dye and as an ingredient in apothecary products throughout human history. Every part of the dandelion plant can be used for something! I personally just transported some that I found growing in a paddock, into my veggie garden, where I plan on harvesting the leaves throughout the warmer months as an addition to salad greens.
If you want to learn more about the dandelion plant your can read a more in-depth article we wrote HERE.
The Bay Leaf is a popular culinary herb which is used either dried or fresh in cooking like soups or stews, and is not usually eaten, although it is safe to do so.
I have transplanted my bay leaf plant from an indoor pot in winter to an outdoor garden in summer for 3 years successfully. However, this year to make it easier I am just keeping him outdoors in the pot, which bay leaf can grow quite well in. You just want to make sure you fertilize once a year, with a safe version for food!
During warmer months, bay leaf will need more water. During cooler months, water regularly but let the dirt completely dry out before watering again.
These are my top 5 edible plants for growing naturally and pesticide-free in your summer garden, hope you enjoyed this article and thanks for stopping by Willy B Mum.