Growing Plants for Food: A Rewarding Practice
Grow you own. Yes, I am talking about plants! They nourish us, give us oxygen and dazzle us with unsurpassed beauty.
Plants are astonishingly complex organisms, as each cell is called to fulfill its role in keeping the plant alive. As humans, we are called to nourish our bodies. Connecting the two processes is an extremely grounding experience.
Every day, we have the opportunity to grow plants that will eventually feed us, a rewarding practice that brings us in partnership with our nourishment.
You might not think you have a green thumb or the patience and understanding to grow your own food, but it’s easier than you think.
If you have a large yard for a garden or a balcony or patio that gets sun, it is easy to make room for plants in your home. If you don’t have the space, consider planting small pots of herbs outside your front door or on a kitchen window sill. There are also hydroponic options that allow you to grow many plants in a vertical “tower” without soil.
What are good starter plants to grow at home?
Many plants are wonderful to grow for food, but if you’re a beginner, some plants are easier to grow than others. Here’s a list of food-producing plants that are easy grow at home:
Mint: There are many varieties of mint and they’re all easy to grow as long as they get full sun and lots of water. If you plant the mint in the ground, be careful, as it can take over your garden!
Lettuce: The foundation for any good salad is also quite easy to grow. Lettuce can grow nicely in containers or in rows in a garden. You can harvest a few leaves at a time - or a whole head of lettuce at once. When you plant lettuce, check the directions, as each varietal needs a different amount of sun exposure and water.
Tomatoes: These juicy red fruits are the standard for most gardens, and there is a distinct taste difference in home-grown versus store-bought tomatoes. Tomatoes will pair well with your lettuce for a scrumptious salad. They can be grown in pots, in the garden, or in hanging pots (upside down) as well. If you give these plants lots of water and sun throughout the day, you will have enough tomatoes to share with your neighbors. I highly recommend heirloom varietals for a delicious alternative to your regular tomatoes.
Basil: This luxurious herb is wonderful in pasta or sauce and brings a ton of flavor to meat and fish. Basil is easy to grow in containers or in the garden and needs full sun with lots of water. Tip: if you plant basil by your tomatoes, it will ward off insects that can eat the tomatoes!
Cucumbers: Cucumbers are a crispy, crunchy addition to the salad (that you just grew in your garden!) and super easy to grow. If you give them good vertical support, warm temperatures and water, they will grow like weeds. If you find yourself in a pickle with an overabundance of cucumbers – grab a mason jar! We’re big fans of Minimalist Baker’s guide to quickly making pickles with seven simple ingredients: https://minimalistbaker.com/how-to-make-quick-pickled-vegetables-guide-recipes/.
What nourishing foods do you love to grow in your garden?