Many homeowners enjoy planting an edible garden either for fresh produce in a delicious culinary menu or simply to help save money. Harvesting a vegetable garden is a fulfilling and rewarding experience, as you are truly able to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Popular choices for a home vegetable garden include tomatoes and peppers, among others. Although caring for a vegetable garden requires additional considerations, there are many vegetables that are relatively easy to grow for both the novice and experienced gardener. As the season progresses and vegetables become ripe for harvest, many first-time vegetable gardeners become convinced that growing your own can result in some of the tastiest produce.
Tomatoes are undoubtedly the most popular vegetable grown in home gardens. The easy-to-grow crop includes many cultivars, allowing tomatoes to be grown in just about any condition. Patio varieties are compact and can be effectively grown in containers, while cherry tomatoes produce smaller, lighter fruits suitable for windy regions. Home vegetable gardeners should first determine their needs when selecting a tomato variety since they vary widely in color, size and time of maturity.
Tomatoes are a warm season vegetable and need full sun to thrive. Well-draining soil is also a necessity for tomatoes. Placing a tomato cage or stake around the tomato plant is recommended for most varieties to help keep it from falling over once it begins to produce fruit. Apply fertilizer during transplanting. Harvest once the fruit is firm and fully colored.
Peppers are another warm-season vegetable popularly grown in home gardens. Like the tomato, peppers prefer full sun with higher temperatures to thrive. Several different varieties are available for home vegetable gardens including the bell pepper, sweet frying peppers and hot peppers. Peppers vary in color from bright red, green, orange and yellow and boast an abundance of shapes and sizes depending on the variety. Peppers do no tolerate frost well, and need well-draining, moist soil. Apply fertilizer once the first fruits begin to appear. Harvest peppers once they reach a desirable size.
Spinach is typically grown in the spring and the fall seasons and is categorized as a cool season vegetable. In early spring, spinach may be planted as soon as the ground has thawed from winter temperatures. Spinach does well in partial shade, which makes it an excellent choice for home vegetable gardeners with limited sun exposure in their gardens. Plant spinach in well-draining soil with a bit of fertilizer for best results. It is recommended, if planting from seed, to chill spinach seeds in the refrigerator for a week or two before sowing into the ground. Spinach leaves should be harvested while they are still a bit young for best taste. There are several varieties of spinach to choose from, including crinkled leaf, plain lead and savoy. Plain leaf has smoother leaves and is preferred by many.