How Does Your Garden Grow? (Q&A)

I can’t be the only one dreaming about getting my hands into some warm soil this coming spring. Although there is still snow piled a foot high on my raised beds, I’m making plans to exercise my green thumb and start a few seedlings.

Since my gardening space is limited to four 4×12 plots and a few containers, I’m being very selective about what I plant this spring. I’ve made my list; have you?

I’m choosing from herbs and vegetables that are typically easier to grow and don’t need much maintenance. With a brand new baby to care for on top of my usual daily activities, I know gardening time is going to be limited.

Here’s my gardening list so far:

From seed:

Spinach, Carrots, Beets, Red leaf lettuce, Radishes, Potatoes.

Bedding Plants (purchased):

Strawberries, Cherry Tomatoes (in pots), Tomatoes, Zucchini, Peppers.


Basil, Oregano, Thyme, Chives, Italian Parsley, Rosemary.

Returning from last year:

Lemon Balm, Lavender, Garlic, Rhubarb, Mint.

We’re also hoping to put in two pear trees, and perhaps a raspberry patch!

Gardening Tips:

I love what my friend Amy recently said in her most helpful post on Planning a Garden:

“Keep it simple. Less is best. A garden should be a happy place, a form of free therapy, not a headache.”

So true!

Remember, even if you don’t have a back yard, you can still grow your own indoor culinary herb garden.

Have children? I love these ideas from Simple Kids on how to create a child-friendly garden.

Who is excited for the upcoming gardening season?!

I’m the comments below, I’d love to hear your garden plans. Are you starting from scratch this year? Joining a community garden? What are some ‘must plant’ choices for you?

About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. We’ve never done a garden before and I’d like to start. I’m thinking about only doing tomatoes and peppers the first time around.

  2. I have grand plans for my garden this year… Although, now, we are thinking about possibly putting our house on the market, which means I will definitely be scaling back on my gardening plans. Oh, there will still be peppers and tomatoes, but I think I am going to nix the winter veg, and plant more greens.

  3. Cannot wait and starting next month I will start the seeds inside our gazebo which acts as a greenhouse. We are blessed to have bought a home with beautiful gardens, flower beds and an area to grow vegetables. Everything was overgrown though, so every year we try to tackle one to two beds, share the love of plants with all we know who come here to dig some and bring to their yard. The vegetable patch fills up every summer with just about everything. From strawberries, to all types of green leafy veggies, carrots, onions, broccoli, and so on. It is a lot of work, but well worth it, plus our daughters love being part of it (if nothing else to go steal things and eat them straight from the garden, which never bothers me).

  4. I was just thinking that I could try to plant some cold weather veggies soon since our winter has been so mild. I grow most of my crops in containers on our side porch that gets lots of sun. I also tried basil in one of those topsy-turvy tomato planters and it grew like crazy! The tomato was just ok but the basil will be repeated this year for sure.

  5. How exciting to be getting ready for fresh garden vegetable season! We are still about a month from planting lettuce and greens outside here, but I am planning to start some squash seeds inside within the next few days. I’ve never really done this before, but I looked through a beautiful seed catalog that convinced me to try growing some heirloom squash.
    When we moved a few years ago, I decided I wouldn’t have a garden in my new house — too much work and time with little children. I lasted one year before I was begging my husband for some raised beds. No fresh basil and oregano, no garden tomatoes — it was tragic. Now I have about double the space you have in raised beds, and big kids that can take care of them with me. And kale, basil and tomatoes in the freezer, too!

  6. Kara @Simple Kids says

    I’m hoping I’m not dreaming greener than my thumbs 🙂 but I’m planning for this to be the year of the tomato at our house! We’ve been scouring the Baker’s Creek catalog and we’ve got seeds for a variety of sizes and colors.

    I love the idea of growing a pizza themed or a salsa themed garden, too!

    Thanks for including a link to Simple Kids 🙂

    Dreaming of green days on this rainy day here in Indiana … Best wishes!

  7. I’m so excited about our garden this year! We’re planning on growing basically the same things we did last year: tomatoes, green beans, hot peppers, and maybe bell peppers, sweet peas and lettuce and radishes.

  8. Last weekend I cleared debris from the Herb garden and found mint and sage under the leaves. Parsley, rosemary, oregano and thyme look to be still happy from our mild winter. AND I started me seedlings, at least most of them. Hoping to put out some cold weather crops this weekend! Our garden is HUGE (60×20 ish). We have hopes of 2 rounds of sweet corn, green beans, tomatoes, tomatillos, peppers, hot peppers, egg plant, broccoli, sun flowers, potatoes, sweet potatoes, leeks, celery, lettuce, melons, cucumbers and squash. Keep your fingers crossed.

  9. We found bush beans and snap peas to grow super easy from seed last year.

  10. I am excited to “garden” this year. And when I say garden I mean doing the little indoor herb growing you are referring to in your links. 😉 This will be my second attempt but I just kinda sat there and watched them die last time. Thank you for inspiring me to try again.

  11. Thanks for this post!! I can’t wait to get started on this year’s garden, and everything on your wish list is on mine, too! My kids will be 5, 3 and 1 this summer, so it should be a good time. 🙂

  12. We are lucky to have two houses. One is in Seattle where are yard is very small, so I am going to grow a couple of tomatoes; thyme, sage, lavender, and oregano (need to transplant them to bigger pots this year), and basil. We’ve got an awesome farmer’s market – so that just seems to be the best way to go over here. Our house on the other side of the mountains (the dry side of Washington State) is on 6 acres. My parents are house-sitting for a couple of years… they are fantastic gardeners and have expanded the garden to about 1/4 of an acre. They grow everything, but their potatoes and squash are the BEST! I can’t wait.

  13. Oh I’m dreaming of spring too! I can’t wait. I like to map out my garden every year this time of year to help me plan what I’m going to plant. Here’s this year’s plans:

    I’ve started my onion and basil seeds indoors already and they are growing great in our front window. And the best news is the kids haven’t even upset them yet! 🙂 We’ll see how long they make it.

  14. I still have peas, spinach, lettuce, and carrots growing from my fall garden. However, since we’re experiencing warm weather here in Scottsdale, AZ, and I am so excited to get my spring garden started, I went ahead and planted my garden a few days ago. I am trying my hand with all heirloom veggies/fruits this time. I discovered I was a little overeager when purchasing seeds from Baker Creek…just don’t have room for them all. LOL! I planted several varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, radishes, onions, bell peppers, and watermelon. I’ll get basil and cilantro seedlings from a local nursery. Can’t wait to see what grows! So much fun!!

  15. Oh I am so happy about garden talk! I planted my peas, and beets yesterday afternoon. We moved into a house last year with a huge in ground garden area, so getting used to all of this space and planning is interesting. I would like to do kale, onions, colorful carrots, and add to some of the treasure I found here already. When we moved here there was already a raspberry patch, thyme, oregano, rosemary, beans, and strawberries. I felt so lucky, and grateful! I would like to find a asparagus bushel start this year too, we will have to see. Thanks for such a great post of inspiration!

  16. This is going to be the first year we have a garden. I will admit, I am nervous. I will definitely be trying tomatoes and maybe some potatoes. I would also like to start strawberries and some herbs.

    I will have to check out that post you linked too. Sounds like it would be a good read for me 🙂

  17. I was so excited to finally be number one on my city’s community garden, but when I took a look at the spot, it was ALL grass. Not just patches, but serious grass, like a lawn. The guy even admitted that it’s been neglected. I had to turn it down since my gardening skills don’t include uprooting some serious grass roots, and was even more disappointed that I also couldn’t be the next in line but had to go back to the BOTTOM of the waiting list. Bummer.

    So I’m not doing a garden just now. My husband and I do plan to buy some large plants for our balcony so that we can put a bench out there and relax and even sleep in the spring and summer days.

    • sleeping mom – don’t know if it’s too late, but if you weed whack it, put down newspaper, and then put soil on top of it, you don’t have to pull up the grass.

  18. Last year I had my first herb garden and LOVED it. We grew oregano, basil, thyme and also had some cucumbers and arugula. I want to add tomatoes and one other vegetable this year, but cannot decide!

  19. We cannot wait until gardening season! I made a list of seeds I plan to buy last month. While I look forward to (hopefully) starting some strawberries & raspberries, I really can’t wait to see what a yard of calendula, camomile & echinacea will look like. It’ll be the first time I tries these, but they will be beautiful and helpful! I’m going to have to attempt a new strategy for lavender though. Have any helpful tips? A pear tree does sound delightful!

  20. Oh don’t even get me started!!!! I am ridiculously excited for spring planting. Since I’m giving birth in late spring I won’t be able to do anything super crazy but that just means i have to have a good plan.

    Before baby #2 arrives I’ll be planting a HUGE crop of green beans (low maintenance, great yield and good in my space)….I’ll be companion planting with carrots, beets, parsnips and greens. That way I can plant them all at the same time and have my green bean harvest in early summer and then all the companion plants come for fall harvest.

    If I feel up to doing some other planting I’ll put in a few tomato and pepper plants and maybe something else.

    My herb garden has TONS of wintered plants (oregano, thyme, fennel, sorrel, sage, etc) and I’ll be planting basil, lemon verbena, stevia and probably a million more. ha

  21. I can’t wait either! I haven’t sat down and mapped out my official plan, but I’m lucky to have a lot of space. I always do lettuces and kale, beets/cucumbers for pickling, potatoes, onions, and winter squash. I think I’m going to do fewer tomatoes this year, and try my hand at some heirloom shelling beans.
    Here are a few of my favorite varieties that I plant year to year:
    Red Kuri winter squash (edible skin!)
    Parisian Pickling cucumbers (for making tiny little cornichons or sweet pickles)
    Rose Finn Apple fingerling potatoes (a pretty blush to their skin)
    Happy growing!

  22. Nicole @ Simple Organic says

    I’m starting with strawberries, and hoping to do some herbs, tomatoes and… not sure what else yet! Guess I need to start planning! 😉

  23. I am hoping to build 4 raised beds with herbs and vegetables. I have several fruit trees, blueberries and raspberries. Last year was the first year I got fruit from my trees, so I am hoping to get them pruned this month and make sure I am on top of the fertizilizing schedule and hoping to get a nice crop this Summer. I’ve never really had vegetables, so I plan on putting just a couple of things in this year.

  24. Gardening is an activity I’ve been dying to do but I still don’t have the luxury of time to do it. Are you a green-thumb? I think I’m not so I’m afraid I might not be successful in planting.


  25. We are planting inside for the first time this year. This will be our first “gardening” experience and the kids are excited.

  26. Juanita Sanchez says

    Unfortunately where I live we arr not allowd to grow vegetable and fruits. But I love plant all food item types.

  27. Rizwan Sultan says

    In my city there is no permission to grow fruits and vegetable but I have a peace of land just 45 km away a small village where I spend my weekend too look after the crops of Potatoes and tomatoes.

  28. I grow lots of tomatoes to eat fresh and to can as well as lots and lots of hot peppers to roast and freeze or pickle for the winter. We also have some squash, eggplant, okra, and green beans. I can’t wait for spring!

  29. I’m getting so excited about my garden this year! I love the quote you shared about gardening not being a headache- I need to remember this! We have slowly put in raised beds each year and now have 8 that I can’t wait to fill. With the unseasonably warm winter here in Tennessee we have lettuce, carrots, asparagus and herbs all doing well already. I have kept a small gardening journal over the past few years that helps me remember from year to year what worked and what should be done differently or skipped. I can’t decide if I enjoy the edibles or the flower cutting bed the most! Come on Spring!!

  30. I’m loving all of the comments here. I’m also planning a small garden, on my Manhattan terrace. I’ve started a handful of plants from seed, like tomatoes, leeks, and artichoke. Fingers crossed!

  31. Last year was our first attempt at “gardening” with our two little boys – we planted pumpkins, sunflowers, herbs, and cherry tomatoes (tomatoes & herbs from seedlings, the rest from seed). We had a fantastic harvest and I can’t wait to do even more this year! We planted in the back yard this year, but the sun and the space are the front yard, so we’re planning on tearing up the lawn and planting some edibles out there – more pumpkins and squash, tomatoes, herbs, maybe carrots and beans (since it sounds like beans are easy to grow!), and maybe even strawberries! This gets me excited to get out there with the kids, especially since they’re a year older and will probably be a little more into it now.

  32. My garden is somewhat ‘sun’ challenged but that hasn’t stopped me! With partial light conditions I can still grow some of my faves like beets, carrots, mesclun greens, peas, blueberries… and i’m blessed to have an organic farm down the road where i can pick up the sun lovers.

    Aimee, have you tried winter vegetables? I have a crop of winter broccoli that’s just about ready to harvest which is so exciting!

    Manda, with respect to lavender….most people kill it with kindness. Lavender prefers sandy soil without a lot of fertilizer, full sun and not too much water.

  33. Oh, the garden… This year, I’m SO taking it back. Half of it is just nettle and mugwort, and they need to go. Other than that, I’m having another go at veggies and herbs, last year they kinda rained away. My starflowers didn’t even bloom until August! Hoping for a little bit of sun this summer! 🙂

  34. I personally like keeping herbs in pots, since they can grow/bush sooooo much that they crowd out other things. Plus, I keep them right outside our front door for easy access during cooking. Tomatoes, bell peppers, strawberries, lettuce, spinach, & watermelon are what’s growing in our garden:)

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