Edible Gardening 101 – How to Start Your Garden
Even if you’re extremely busy or restricted to indoor spaces, you can achieve the benefits of edible gardening. It’s a low-cost, low-impact hobby and you can invest as much or as little effort into it as you’d like. We built a potting bench – a table top with shelving making it easier to work with pots and plants to help us start with our edible garden.
Beginner gardeners can start with indoor plants in medium-sized pots, placed near a window or light source.
Top Edible Gardening Tips
1. Buy starter plants from nurseries instead of using seeds. Seeds often require pre-soaking, and seedlings often die before they can make it to a larger pot. Established plants are much easier to grow.
2. Start with hardy plants. Pay attention to the care information that comes with your plants. Plants that grow wild in your region will most likely succeed in your home.
3. Don’t get discouraged! Plants are complex living organisms that have many needs. It’s okay if your plants die; learn from your mistakes and try again. The best gardening tools are practice and experience.
Top Edible Plants for Beginners
- Aloe Vera – The jelly in each stalk is a natural treatment for burns and irritated skin, and juice from stalks is delicious and soothing.
- Radishes – It is rich in ascorbic acid, folic acid, and potassium.
- Basil, Thyme, Rosemary, Mint, and other herbs – These fresh herbs add flavor to foods and teas, and herbs have medicinal properties. See how to use herbs in cooking.
- Ginger and Turmeric Root – Both are extremely anti-inflammatory and medicinal.
Top Edible Plants for Advanced Gardeners
- Peppers, including bell peppers, sweet peppers, and chili peppers are rich in vitamins A, C, and K and phytochemicals.
- Tomatoes, including cherry tomatoes, grape tomatoes, and larger varieties are rich in vitamins A, C, and K, folate and potassium.
- Onions and Garlic are extremely anti-inflammatory and great sources of flavonoids.
- Carrots are rich in antioxidants and vitamin A.
- Potatoes are filled with phytochemicals and vitamin B6.
Top Edible Plants for Outdoor Garden
- Pumpkins are rich in carotenoids and the amino acid tryptophan.
- Zucchini contain high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, and dietary fiber.
- Most varieties of Squash contain high levels of vitamin A, carotenoids, and folate.
- Cucumbers are good for hydration, aid digestion, and contains many vitamins.
- Lemons and Limes are rich in vitamin C, and have antibacterial and antiviral properties.
- Figs are rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, and B-complex vitamins.
- Most varieties of apples are full of soluble fiber and vitamin C.
- Sunflowers seeds have anti-inflammatory properties, and are rich in vitamin E.
Special thanks to landscape designer Sean Andersen of Mountainscapers for sharing these tips and tricks on starting your own edible garden in your own backyard.
Edible Garden Resources for Beginners & Advanced Gardeners
- We have found that the potting bench we built has been so handy. It’s a great height to easily work with pots, soils and seeds. It also keeps us organized with our gardening tools.
- I purchased a few years ago the book Vegetable Gardening in Florida and have found it be so helpful when I’m wanting to learn specifics on edible gardens in Florida. Search for one for your state or region.
- If space is limited, you’ll want to look at these unique ways to have your garden. HGTV shares some great and rather clever ways to have an edible garden in a small space.
- One of the easiest items to grow in an edible garden is herbs. If you aren’t quite sure what to do with all those herbs, be sure to check out my herb cooking guide. It provides lots of ways to use your backyard herbs right in your kitchen.
- We typically visit Home Depot the morning of our big gardening days. I found most of what I need, particularly the starter plants and garden tools for a reasonable price. Many of there items can be shipped to your home so if you want to do some shopping mid-week you can have it all delivered in time to plant on Saturday.
- Interested in bringing the passion to garden to your children? As a teacher many moons ago, I had a science unit called Plant Growth & Development. I would often read the children garden-related books. Some of my favorites were The Gardener, The Tiny Seed, Planting a Rainbow and From Seed to Plant.
- Check out this edible garden photo tour from HGTV to see how gardeners have set up their plants. I find photos to be very inspiring.
- Growing watermelon in your garden? You’ll have to try my Watermelon Feta Salad or the Avocado Watermelon Salad. It is perfect for hot summer BBQs.
- A Caprese Pasta Salad is a perfect way to use your garden grape tomatoes. It’s a cold salad that pairs well with burgers.