Save yourself a trip to the grocery store—and grow fantastic edibles in your own backyard! Before you know it, you’ll have your own full-fledged produce department right at your fingertips. Here are some tips to help you get growing in no time at all:
Choose the right container. Veggies, herbs, and berries will grow in just about anything, as long as the pots have drainage holes in the bottom. Terracotta pots look nice, but you’ll spend extra time watering the plants because of terracotta’s porous nature. Another thing to keep in mind: Darker pots will absorb heat from the sun, drying out your roots. You might also want to avoid containers with treated wood because it can contain chemical compounds that could be absorbed by your beautiful edibles.
Make sure it’s big enough. The size of your pot ultimately depends on what you plan on growing, so make sure to do some extra digging before you decide what you want to plant. Generally speaking, veggies need a pot that’s at least 10 inches wide and 12 inches deep. Herbs have a handy little formula: Take 1/3 of the final height of the herb you want to plant. For example, if you want to plant basil, and it will grow to 18 inches tall, pick a pot that’s at least 6 inches deep. Berries vary even more than herbs, so do some research before you start.
Don’t skimp on soil. The right soil makes as much difference as the amount of water you give your precious plants. Give your veggies some good, organic potting mix, while your herbs might do better in a moisture control potting mix.
Water, water, water! Potted plants always need more TLC than regular plants—especially when it comes to watering. Water your plants until you see it coming out of the drainage hole in the bottom. If you’re not sure if you need to water, stick your index finger in the soil up to the first joint. If the soil is moist, you’re good. If the soil is dry, bottom’s up!
Happy harvest. To keep new growth coming, be sure to harvest your plants early and often. With some flowering herbs, keep an eye out for those budding blossoms. The flowers will change the flavor of the leaves for the worse, so pluck those blossoms as soon as you see ’em.
And just like that, you’re ready to get growing! You’ll be reaping the benefits from you tasty edibles in no time.