Passionate About the Coastal Bend
and the Moms Who Live Here

Taste the Earth and Sunshine {Start a Family Vegetable Garden}

I was asked by my brother in law to describe the taste of a fresh garden tomato. I closed my eyes and said, “it tastes like earth and sunshine: a perfect combination!” There’s something about a homegrown tomato that you just can’t find in any grocery store.

One of my favorite things to do when the weather warms up is to plant some vegetables and herbs, and now is the perfect time to get started in Corpus Christi! For me, gardening is a natural way to de-stress, get in some good Vitamin D, and if I’m feeling adventurous, let my boys join me in the fun!

When I first started having vegetable gardens, it was purely out of necessity. We had a growing family, but not a growing grocery budget. Gardening was an inexpensive way to have organic produce right in my backyard, and I came to love it. Whatever your reason for starting a vegetable garden, there are a few things to consider before you get started:

Grow Vegetables You Like to Eat.

This may seem like a no brainer, but if you’re planting multiple plants of one vegetable, you need to make sure you and your family will enjoy it. I made the mistake my first year of planting TWO yellow squash plants. We like squash, but we don’t love squash… and we got tired of it pretty quickly. I had more yellow squash than I knew what to do with! My neighbors got squash. I pureed and froze a ton of it for baby food. I took a lot to my church. Still, some didn’t get eaten! {Squash does REALLY well in our area.}

Consider Corpus Christi Area Weather and Conditions.

Here in South Texas, our summers can be brutal, especially once July hits. Make sure to choose plants that will do well under these conditions. When you go to a nursery to select your vegetable seeds or seedlings, there are usually labels to tell you if the plant needs full sun or partial shade. Take some time to study your yard and choose the best spots for your plants. Some vegetables I’ve had great luck with in the summer are tomatoes {I know, tomatoes are really a fruit… but I eat them on sandwiches so that makes them a vegetable!}, squash, bell peppers, hot peppers, zucchini, and eggplant.

Homegrown tomatoes from the garden

Don’t Bite Off More than You Can Chew.

I made this mistake my first year of vegetable gardening. I decided to use a massive spot in our backyard for our garden, and I just couldn’t keep up with it. The weeds started taking over and I ended up tending to only half of it because it was all I could handle at the time. Know your limits, and don’t think you have to start with a massive garden. It’s better to start small than not at all! Then you can take notes this year on the few vegetables you have and it will give you an excellent starting point to work with next year!

Think Outside the Box.

If you’re limited on yard space, don’t be discouraged! You can easily plant a few vegetables in pots, and they do great as well. One summer when I knew I wouldn’t have the time for an in ground garden, I planted tomatoes and bell peppers in pots and they did great! It was much less up keep as well. Herbs are also great in pots, and flourish in the summer. We love to have fresh pesto from our basil all summer long.

I hope I’ve inspired you to try out vegetable gardening and get your family involved with the process. In my experience, my boys were much more willing to try a new vegetable if they got to help plant and pick it. I love to know exactly where my food comes from, and the closer I can get it to my kitchen table, the better!

What’s your favorite homegrown vegetable?

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2 Responses to Taste the Earth and Sunshine {Start a Family Vegetable Garden}

  1. Fiona March 31, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

    Amanda, we just planted our first vegetable garden down here and we made the mistake of planting two squash plants. I’m concerned now ?. I hope our tomatoes work out, we are struggling with strawberries, have you had any luck with those? Thanks for the informative article.

  2. Mary Z. Afuso
    Mary Z. Afuso April 1, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

    Can I tell you how DESPERATELY I needed this post?

    My yard is full of plants — none of which I planted. Every time I plant a seed, it dies. Seedling? dies. Potted plant? dies. Partly because we have very unique growing conditions.

    I’m starting a vegetable garden! This time maybe it will work!