Gardening can be quite overwhelming for beginners. For that matter, starting anything new can be intimidating. For each of us, there is a learning curve, and the best approach to take is to be an eager student. I know I can relate to what it’s like when a new task is set before me. It’s exciting and sometimes scary all rolled into one!
Even though Oklahoma is currently blanketed in snow, the time to begin our spring gardening is just a few short weeks away, so now is the time to be learning and preparing. If you are new to gardening, let me warn you that it is not always easy, but it is always worth it.
If you are going to plant your first garden this year, I would like to suggest five vegetables that are super easy to grow. If you experience some success, I believe it will motivate you to keep going!
Onions are a great thing to grow in your kitchen garden because they are a staple in most homes. In Zone 7 (central Oklahoma) the planting date for onions is February 14. You don’t have to have them in the ground on that exact date, but they are much sweeter if they go through a few frosts and even have some snow or ice on them while they are growing. You can purchase onions at local nurseries in bundles of small plants that are called “sets”. All you have to do is separate them and plant each tiny onion in the ground.
Carrots are grown from seed and planted in mid-March. There are many varieties that are suitable for our area, so have some fun and choose a few different ones. They are also easy to grow in containers. Once they come up, take a little time to “thin them out.” When you thin out new plants it means that you pull out seedlings that come up too close to each other, leaving only the strongest one to mature. After thinning, carrots require little care.
Many people avoid growing potatoes because they think they are difficult—quite the opposite. This is a great crop because you can try varieties that you probably have never tasted before and that are packed full of flavor. Store bought potatoes are one of the crops on the “Dirty Dozen” list for pesticide residue, so it’s a great vegetable to grow for yourself. You can buy “seed potatoes” from nurseries and plant them around mid-March. Here’s a handy guide for learning how to grow potatoes in Oklahoma.
Peppers are super fun to grow and produce a lot of fruit for the size of plant they are. There are literally hundreds of varieties, so you can grow hot or sweet or both! They are heat-loving plants and do well just about anywhere you put them, as long as they can receive a solid eight hours of sunlight per day. Get ready! You are in for a burst of color and flavor when they start fruiting.
Beans are so underrated! If the only beans that you eat come from a can you are really missing out. They are probably the easiest vegetable of all to grow and provide delicious, seasonal flavor and nutrition. Depending on your growing space, you can choose beans that have a “bush nature” or go vertical by building a trellis and selecting beans with a “climbing nature”. We like growing different heirloom varieties that you can purchase here. After trying a few new kinds of beans, you will never settle for store-bought again.
Along my gardening journey there have been many people who have encouraged and guided me and helped me be successful. The same is true with my spiritual journey. I’ve been blessed to have loving people teach me Scripture, pray with me, and lead me in the way of truth. 1 Thess. 5:11 tells us to, “encourage one another and build each other up.” Whether you are learning to garden or learning about Jesus, may you diligently lay your hand to the work before you and be blessed.