Does your diet need a veggie boost and is your exercise resolution “starting tomorrow?” Try something that can help you do both. Join millions of “green thumb” Americans and plant a garden. The vegetables and physical activity you can get with gardening are both linked to lower risk for several cancers and help with healthy weight goals.
Forget the image you may have of sprawling rows of corn, beans and cabbages. Your garden need only be a couple pots of tomato plants or a window box with herbs.
Lettuce: Use a pot at least 4-6 inches in diameter. Seed packets contain information on appropriate varieties for your climate. Your local Extension agent can also provide suggestions. When planting, overseed a bit, then thin seedlings to appropriate spacing. Thinning is very important to allow the lettuce leaves to fully develop.
Tomatoes: It's not surprising that tomatoes are America’s favorite homegrown crop, because their flavor is unmatched. Choose from cherry, grape, plum or the big, meaty slicing tomatoes. Select a pot at least 8 inches in diameter. Start with a seedling from a garden store and transplant. Provide some type of support for the tomato vine – a wire cage or stake.
Basil: A beautiful and tasty herb. Use a pot at least 4-6 inches in diameter and transplant seedlings from a garden store. Harvest regularly – snip the stems just above where two smaller leaves are beginning to form so the plant will be “bushier” and not grow tall and spindly.
With these three crops you have salad makings all summer long. Lettuce is an early crop; once harvested, you can replant with heat tolerant varietes. Tomatoes usually begin bearing in July and Basil in July/August.
Top off your salads with these creative dressings and enjoy your hard work.