3 Surprising Secrets to Successful Food Gardening

Vegetables, fruits, and herbs thrive on the same kind of chemical-free TLC that ornamental plants do. So if you’re setting out to plant your first food garden, before you buy a single seed, ponder these simple guidelines for happy — and successful — growing:

Keep it small. When you’re new to growing vegetables, follow my golden rule for happy gardening: Decide on a size that you can handle cheerfully and comfortably, then reduce it by a third.

Keep it near your house. Or as close as your yard’s layout will allow. This way, you’ll be better able to spot tiny weeds before they grow into big ones. You’ll notice insect pests while there’s still time to pick them off by hand or send them fleeing with a spray from the garden hose. Plus, you’ll know just when your new vegetables are ready for picking, and you won’t miss a minute of their sweet, fresh flavor!

Keep it within reach of your hose. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time toting a watering can back and forth because vegetables are a thirsty bunch. Most of them require at least an inch of water every week, and some need more than that.

Happy growing!