You must start with a successful garden plan to grow nutritious, sustainable food for your healthy meal plans.
Now more than ever, growing your food can be a stress reliever, save you money, and provide your family with delicious vegetables and flavorful herbs.
Supermarket organic options can be costly, and with the current shopping restrictions, who wants to go to the store?
To achieve a bountiful garden, you must start with a plan…
Planning Your Garden
Whether you are using containers or plotting a garden in the ground, having a plan is crucial for success.
Ideally, you should keep a record of what you grow, plant maintenance, and your harvest.
Reference this information for your future gardens.
Step 1: Decide what to grow.
You need to determine your climate zone and what will grow well.
Step 2: Strategically figure out where you are going to grow your vegetables.
Consider sunlight versus shade and heat intensity.
For example, I live in zone 7 and if I place lettuce on my deck, it will never survive our hot summers.
Therefore, I have an area on my screen porch, where I can grow lettuce, out of the sun.
If I need to, I can bring in the containers on those days when the heat is oppressive.
My back deck gets 6-8 hours of full sun.
My strawberry mint survived the winter, so I will keep it – great for cocktails.
I am planting heat tolerate, New Zealand Spinach and green onions, with marigolds.
My raised bed drawing indicates the placement of the herbs I will grow.
I am planting seeds for oregano, parsley, tarragon, lemon balm, and basil. This bed gets morning direct sun but gets evening shade.
I have a location list of all my containers and what I plan to grow in each.
Also, think about companion plants.
This year I am growing marigolds in a large pot with my green onions.
Supposedly, marigolds deter aphids and other pests – (testing this theory).
Besides, the marigolds will provide beautiful color on my back deck.
Yes, they require occasionally picking off deadheads, but for such a small planting, this will only take minutes.
In my raised bed, I will plant radishes in between the herbs.
Radishes are very resilient and are an ideal “in-between” crop.
My screen porch gets limited sun so here I will have arugula, a “salad bowl” blend of greens and I am trying my hand at an Italian Amaro Blend of microgreens.
Step 3: Using your free garden journal to record when you start seeds or plant seedlings.
Step 4: Make sure you are realistic with what you can take care of.
I do not plan to have a large, in the ground garden this year.
It is not practical until I can build a stable walking path to the garden. Remember, I broke my foot last year and now I am paranoid about rolling my ankle again…
Besides, you should practice good crop rotation as well. Growing the same vegetables in the same place two years in a row can handicap your success.
I plan to grow wildflowers and sunflowers in our garden plot. They will beautify the open field and benefit the soil too.
In the “wildflower bed,” I ordered “Bring Home the Butterflies,” “Hummingbird Haven,” “Lemon Queen Sunflowers,” and “Heirloom Beauties” from Botanical Interest.
Step 5: Order your seeds from Botanical Interests
Botanical Interest is a 25-year old reputable, high-quality seed company offering over 600 varieties of heirloom and certified organic seeds.
Their unique seed packs contain information to help any level of a gardener to achieve success, including
when to harvest, recipes, history, growing tips, pest control and more specific instructions for that particular seed.
Curtis Jones and Judy Seaborn participate in several seed donation programs including school gardens, children’s hospitals, food banks, and garden clubs to help educate youth and share the benefits of gardening.
Currently, they created a limited-edition flower seed packet, which they will donate $1 from the sale of each Anniversary Aster packet to kidsgardening.org, an organization that creates opportunities for kids to learn through gardening.
Order your seed catalog now, but make sure to use my affiliate link when you place your order.
Of course, I will keep you updated on the progress of my garden on my Facebook page
As every year, I will grow some bell peppers again.
Not only healthy and easy to grow, but they are also wonderful in this fajita recipe.
Fire up the grill and try this meal.
Let me know what you think…
Grilled Steak Fajitas
- 1 lbs. skirt steak or flank steak
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 green bell pepper
- 1 red bell pepper
- 12 small flour tortillas
- 1 large red onion, sliced
- 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black ground pepper
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 4 minced garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 6 oz. pineapple juice
- Whisk together all ingredients for steak marinade, soy sauce, garlic cloves, vegetable oil and pineapple juice.
- Reserve 1/4 cup of the marinade and set aside.
- Using a fork, stab the meat on one side, about 4-5 times, leaving small perforations in the meat.
- Place the meat in a gallon zip lock bag and pour over marinade (except for 1/4 cup reserved portion). Remove as much air as possible from the bag. Seal it. Place on a plate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, up to 24 hours. Flip the meat halfway through marinating time.
- Just before grilling, prepare the vegetables.
- Using a paring knife, remove the stems from the peppers. Remove any excess seeds.
- Slice the red onion into 1/2" thick slices. Using long toothpicks - skewer the onions, only going through halfway, to the center of the onion.
- Brush all vegetables, on all sides, with the 1/2 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry (avoids flare-ups). Discard this marinade. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Place 12 flour tortillas in aluminum foil and wrap.
- Get the grill very hot by turning on all burners to high, for 15 minutes.
- Return to the grill and leave the primary burner on high, but turning all other burners to low.
- Clean and oil grill.
- Place peppers and onions on the HOT burner.
- Place tortilla pack on the LOW burner.
- Close the lid and cook for 10 minutes - flip tortillas and vegetables after 5 minutes of cooking.
- After 10 minutes of grilling, remove vegetables and place in an aluminum, disposal pan. Remove tortillas and set aside.
- Close grill to heat up grates again for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, cover the vegetable pan with aluminum foil and secure.
- After 5 minutes, place meat over the HOT burner of the grill. Place the aluminum foil pan, with the vegetables on the LOW burner of the grill.
- Close the lid and grill for 4 minutes. Flip the meat - you should have a great sear with grill marks on the meat. Close the grill and cook an additional 4 minutes.
- Grill to an internal temperature of 135ºF.
- Remove meat and vegetables from grill. Tent meat and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
- Thinly slice the steak, AGAINST THE GRAIN - place on a platter.
- Julieanne the bell peppers, so they are in strips. Remove the toothpicks from the onion and gently pull apart. Pour reserved marinade over the vegetables. Add 1 Tablespoon chopped, fresh cilantro. Gently stir. Add vegetables to a serving platter. Serve with tortillas.
- Optional toppings: avocado, sour cream, lime wedges, pico de gallo.