Grow an organic snacking garden that’s tasty and delicious and packed with vitamins, protein and healthy antioxidants.
Take stock. Green beans pack 1.8 grams of protein per cup. Tomatoes come filled with the antioxidant lycopene, lots of vitamin C and about 1.3 grams of protein.
To get going planting your organic snacking garden, start simple. Use packets of veggie seeds or organic seedlings of vegetable and fruit plants that you love to munch on for the tastiest and most delicious organic snacks in your organic garden.
6 Steps to Growing an Organic Snacking Garden:
1. Select a location
Finding the right spot to grow your snacking garden is the key to a successful organic snacking garden. Choose a location that gets six to eight hours of sunshine each day. Need help planning your garden? Read about garden and landscape planning.
TIP: For lettuce, consider growing it in part-shade to help it last longer in areas where the sun can be intense.
2. Determine the growing vessel
Once you select the location, consider what type of growing vessel to use. In small spaces, consider planters or raised bed gardens, including beds on wheels for portability. Those vessels also help make it easier to control soil.
For larger spaces, select a larger raised bed garden or a section in your outdoor space.
TIPS: Green peppers and indeterminate tomatoes will produce all season long. But once they take off, they will flop over, bringing fruit into contact with the earth.
Use stakes or cages so the plants will get the most sunshine and air circulation through the lower branches. Cucumbers benefit from support, too. They prefer a trellis system so the tendrils can wrap around and keep off the ground. These options also help keep your fruits and veggies away from pesky nibblers, such as rabbits.
3. Fill with the right soil
When setting up your organic snacking garden, start with the right soil. Well-draining soil helps keep plants healthy and thriving in your snacking garden. For planters and raised beds, use soil specifically made for them. Try organic potting mix such as Miracle-Gro Performance Organics Container Mix or organic raised bed soil such as Kellogg Raised Bed & Potting Mix.
TIPS: Save room for water in containers and planters. Fill your soil within one to two inches from the top. In your larger garden, mix in a layer of compost to improve soil and drainage.
4. Plant snacks
Where you live and when your last date of frost is in your local area will determine where you’ll want to start your seeds. Try cherry tomatoes, blueberries, strawberries, green peppers, carrots, green beans, figs and cucumbers. These fruits and vegetables make great snacks.
TIP: Be sure to follow instructions on spacing and depth of planting. Give your plants enough room so they grow healthy and happy.
5. Provide plant food
Plants always perform better when fed the right nutrients. This will give your vegetables and fruits the best possible start. With veggies you start from seed, once the second set of leaves, or “true leaves,” appear, you can begin a plant food regimen. Use an organic, all-purpose plant fertilizer mixed at half-strength once a week for the first few weeks, gradually increasing to full strength. For seedlings you bring home, wait a week and then begin providing plant food once a week. If using a slow-release fertilizer, feed according to instructions.
TIP: For fertilizing fruit trees, follow a regimen specified by the type of fruit.
6. Give ample water
Be sure to give your organic snacking garden enough water. During hotter months, water daily with a garden hose, drip irrigation system or watering can in smaller spaces. Better yet, put your organic snacking garden on an energy and water-saving timer. It helps when you go on vacation or a business trip.
TIP: Don’t forget to check for pests when watering or every few days. Look under leaves or around the stems. Inspect and treat with organic solutions.
Now all you need to do is enjoy your delicious snacks. Harvest according to instructions on your organic vegetable plant tag or seed packet.