Part 2: Picking Pleasant Plants

Part 2: Picking Pleasant Plants

"The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature." Alfred Austin

Part Two! To get your new sustainable garden started, we’ve picked out our favorite edible plants even beginner gardeners can enjoy!

Sunflowers

It’s not a real garden without Sunflowers! Here’s the lowdown on how to plant these tall beauties in your sustainable garden.

Planting Conditions

  1. How to Plant: Opt for Sunflower seeds as opposed to transplants. Since their roots grow quickly and deeply, the transition from transplant can weaken them. Avoid windy areas, and plant ½ inch deep and 6-12 inches apart.

  2. Soil Temp: 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit

  3. Grow Time: 68-90 days

  4. Soil: Somewhere between damp and wet, but no puddles.

  5. Sun: Constant.

  6. Watering: Regular to generous.

Harvest: “When the seeds are fairly hard and the backs of the flower heads have turned brown, cut the stems 1 to 2 feet below the flower head. Hang the flowers upside down to dry in a warm spot with good ventilation and out of direct sunlight. Once the seeds are completely dry, rub them to remove them from the flower head and store them in a cool, dry place.” (Source) To turn them into a quick snack, here’s a great sunflower seed recipe!

Tomatoes

If you can only grow one vegetable this summer, grow tomatoes. A beloved fan-favorite, anyone who has successfully grown even one tomato says it’s a worthwhile endeavor.

Planting Conditions

  1. How to Plant: If you’re planting in the ground, with support as the plant grows, leave 2-3 feet in between each transplant or seed. If you’re going for a container, plant one seed or transplant per 20 gallon container.

  2. Soil Temp: Warm. There is no exact temperature, the only concern is to plant when there will be no harsh or cold weather. Tomatoes and other young plants are extremely susceptible to frost.

  3. Grow Time: 50-90 days

  4. Soil: Make sure the soil drains between watering.

  5. Sun: Constant.

  6. Watering: Regular watering, and make sure it gets down to the roots. Let the soil dry out between watering.

Harvest: When the tomato is ripe and firm.

Snap Beans

Snap Beans, or “Green Beans,” are the simplest and most common bean to grow. They also take the least time to mature!

For best results, especially in containers or a new garden, look for seeds that have been inoculated with the rhizobium bacteria, which helps the beans fix nitrogen in the soil.” (Source)

Planting conditions

  1. How to Plant: Seeds should be 1 inch deep and 1-3 inches apart

  2. Soil Temp: Between 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit

  3. Grow Time: 45-80 days

  4. Soil: Loose and moist

  5. Sun: Constant

  6. Watering: Begin a watering routine once there’s seedlings, and keep the soil moist consistently. Remember not to overdo it, these little guys will rot if the soil is too damp.

  7. Harvest: Start picking once the plant reaches maturity, and it will keep producing until the weather gets cold.

For a breakdown on all things beans, check out this Houzz masterlist about the top bean plants.

Strawberries

Fresh strawberries are a key ingredient to any Summer afternoon, and they’re so easy to grow!

Planting Conditions

  1. How to Plant: In the ground, plant in rows or hills, with each transplant about a foot apart. If you’re going with a container, pick one at least 8 inches deep, and plant one transplant or seed each opening. Strawberries are also subject to rotting, so avoid planting too deep into the soil.

  2. Soil Temp: Warm.

  3. Grow Time: 28-56 days

  4. Soil: Somewhere between damp and wet

  5. Sun: Constant, unless the area gets particularly hot, then partial shade.

  6. Watering: Water regularly and watch out for drying.

  7. Harvest: The deeper the red, the sweeter the berry.

Basil

Planting Conditions

  1. How to Plant: If you’re starting with seeds, keep them planted indoors until you have seedlings. Basil is most commonly planted in a pot.

  2. Soil Temp: Warm.

  3. Grow Time: 60-90 days

  4. Soil: Moist and loose

  5. Sun: Constant, unless the area gets particularly hot, then partial shade.

  6. Watering: Water regularly and watch out for drying.

Harvest: After the plant reaches 6 inches tall, starting plucking leaves.

We hope you enjoyed these tips and are excited for your Summer Garden! Join us next time for Part 3!