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Easy to grow plants for first time gardeners

Growing a garden brings more than just delicious, nutritious treats. Cultivating your own plants, whether you eat them or just want to admire their beauty, is good for your general wellbeing. Working to take care of your plants promotes physical health as it is a great way to exercise and spending time in nature has been proven to reduce stress. If you want to get your hands dirty and grow your own food, check out these 10 plants that don't require an expert green thumb.

1. Pansies

These hardy flowers are difficult to kill – in most areas of the United States, pansies are tough enough to withstand winter temperatures. There are more than 300 types of pansies, including some that have been bred specifically for very hot or very cold environments.

The ideal time to plant pansies is when the soil temperature is between 50 and 60 ° F (August for the north) parts of the country to October in the south), but you can also start yours in early spring. In most garden stores you can buy mature plants and put them directly in the ground. If you plan to pull something out of seeds, place each one in a damp soil 7 to 1

2 inches apart.

In colder conditions, pansies are best suited for direct sunlight. If you live in a warm state like Georgia or Texas, give the flowers some shade – plant them strategically so they can spend three to four hours a day in the shade, and make sure they get an inch of water every week .

2. Tomatoes

According to the National Gardening Association, nearly nine out of ten American vegetable gardens have at least one tomato plant in their households. Germinating tomato plants need a constant soil temperature of 65 to 80 ° F. The seeds should be planted six to eight weeks before the planned last frost date in your region. Given these requirements, you will most likely need to start indoors (or buy tomato plants at your local garden center).

First, you need one container per two seeds. (While it is possible to grow all the seeds in the same pot, this will make it more difficult to remove the young plants when the time comes to transplant them.) Plastic or polystyrene cups work well. Make a few small holes in the ground to drain them and fill the containers with good potting soil. Then place the seeds about a quarter of an inch below the surface. Spray the dirt with water (make it damp but not damp) and maintain a constant room temperature of 70 to 80 ° F. The small plants sprout within 10 days. You will need a lot of sunlight; If possible, place the plants through a south-facing window or use artificial light in windowless houses.

Once the plants sprout four leaves each, put them in larger containers – pots 4-6 inches tall will be perfect. In the meantime you will find a beautiful, sunny part of your garden outside. A week before the last frost date until the soil is loose. Then dig a trench about 6 or 8 cm deep. After the last frost date has finally arrived and the dirt has warmed up, throw in 3 inches of compost. Cover that with a little more soil and then transplant your seedlings there.

Like pansies, tomatoes come in many varieties and offer fruits of all shapes and sizes. Depending on the type you grow, you should arrange the young plants 12 to 48 inches apart. The exact number can be found in the seed packaging or in a garden shop in the neighborhood. By the way, inexperienced gardeners may want to choose varieties that produce smaller fruits (like cherry tomatoes). Medium or large fruits can rot prematurely if left to their own devices. To prevent this, you need to tie your plants to posts or cages for support. It's not too difficult, but it's an additional step.

3. Basil

Tomatoes and basil make a great combination in spaghetti sauces, and in your garden the two plants can help each other grow. According to many amateur and professional gardeners, basil serves as a natural insect repellent that repels unwanted insects that could otherwise eat the herb – or eat your tomato fruit. Some also speculate that planting the two close together somehow gives the tomatoes a much better taste. Garden basil needs a lot of sunlight and should be arranged accordingly. Plant the seeds at least 30 cm apart six weeks before the last frost. Water them lightly when the soil feels dry and you have a healthy plant that gives you delicious leaves all summer. Mangia !

4. Mint

Mint, another robust herb, is ridiculously easy to grow. In fact, mint does so well outdoors that the biggest challenge is keeping the plant from taking over your entire garden. But before we go into that, let's talk about logistics. Mint needs moist soil with good drainage and is best used in an area that provides moderate shade during the day.

Under favorable conditions, the herb's special stems – so-called "runners" – shoot out in all directions. If the check box is not selected, the runners devour every inch of the available real estate and sometimes conquer entire lawns. For this reason, many people grow their peppermint candies outdoors in clay pots from which the roots cannot escape. However, if you want to put your garden in a multi-species garden, plant it inside a long, tubular container with an open bottom and thick walls. An 18-inch metal stovepipe buried vertically with the top inch protruding above the surface would be perfect. Terrace edges and driveways can also be effective root barriers.

5. Sunflowers

Whether you are hungry for their seeds or just want to look at them, sunflowers are an excellent choice for first-time gardeners. They don't need much fertilization, they can thrive in all but the wettest soil, and they're extremely adept at surviving droughts. As the common name suggests, these flowers need direct, unobstructed sunlight. Plant your plants outdoors and keep them well away from other plants that you may be growing, as a series of tall sunflowers can cast unwanted shadows on neighboring vegetables.

Wait until the last frost date has passed in spring, and then plant your seeds in 1-inch holes. For best results, place them at least 6 inches apart. If you're dealing with a larger type, increase that number to 24 inches. Water well after planting.

6. Radishes

Radishes are an ideal harvest in cold weather and develop spicy onions in the cooler months of spring and autumn. Arrange the seeds at least an inch apart in a half inch of loose, damp, and well-lit dirt. They grow quickly: certain radishes can be ready for harvest 22 days after planting, while other varieties need up to 70. When your leaves sprout, thin out the rows by picking every other radish. A new row can be planted in early spring or late summer, depending on when you want to dig up and eat your vegetables.

7. Potatoes

The average American eats about 114 pounds of these delicious tubers a year. With Spud cultivation, you don't have to worry about planting seeds. Instead, the goal here is to find a potato tuber from which some buds have grown about a quarter to a third of an inch in length. Cut the potato into pieces and leave at least one bud on each segment. Before proceeding from there, store these wedges at room temperature for 48 to 72 hours.

If you have a lot of space to work, you can grow potatoes in large rows in your garden. (See instructions here.) If space is limited, you can grow potato plants in bottomless baskets with half a bushel. Alternatively, as Janice Stillman of the old farmer's almanac explains in this video, a trash can with some holes drilled in the ground is also an effective container. In any case, you have to start shortly after the last spring frost. Take your barrel or basket and put it in a sunny place. Fill it with loamy potting soil and bury the pieces 2 to 4 inches below the surface. Give them an inch of water every week and they can harvest until midsummer. Homemade french fries, here we come!

8. Spinach

Popeye's favorite food is one of the best cold weather crops a gardener could ask for. Four to six weeks before the last frost date in your area, you need to start a process called priming: soak some seeds in water for 24 hours. Take them out and let them dry on a paper towel for a day or two. Then seal the seeds in an airtight zip lock bag and keep them in a cool room for up to a week. When the one-week stay in a cool room has ended, sow the seeds in a centimeter of soil at a temperature below 70 ° F. You can start harvesting your spinach leaves as soon as they have the size you want.

9. Marigolds

With regard to flower growing, marigolds definitely fall into the category of foolproof items. Wait for the spring frosts to end. Almost every type of bedding suits them, although damp, well-drained floors are preferable. Marigold lovers usually get their seeds by buying them in packages that contain specific instructions on spacing and other topics. Cover the seeds with a little dirt, don't let the soil get too dry and uproot some of the seedlings as needed. In return for this minimal effort, you will receive vivid flowers that will last until the football season.

10. Zucchini

Zucchini are not only super easy to grow, they are also amazingly productive. Within a few weeks, your garden will produce enough to feed a small army. To get started, dig a series of inch deep holes into the earth between early spring and midsummer (although in practice one or two plants will likely be enough). The depressions should be about 3 feet apart, with each crater containing two or three seeds. Make sure the dirt is warm and keep it moist (regular mulching will help you with that). You can start harvesting six to eight weeks later. And because new zucchini sprout to replace the plucked pumpkins, you will soon have a fairly good yield on your hands. In a single season, a single plant can produce 10 pound zucchini.

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