Nourish Yourself with Gardening

Did you know that plants have powers?  Not the teleportation or mind-reading kind, rather gardening and taking care of plants is a powerful act of nourishment for your body, mind and soul. We asked two of our growers their top tips for gardening so you can get those hands dirty and your spirit happy with plants!

1. Start simple. 

Perhaps the garden adage - start small and simple and see what happens! A potted plant or two will add joy and flavor to your summer. An easy place to start: herbs.

Randal Kohn of West Star Farm shares, "Get a container and pot up a basil will have fresh basil throughout summer. Mint Mojito is a great plant for containers, easy to grow, and offers fresh mint for mojitos or ice tea on a hot summer day."  

Basil ready for your garden and your summer pasta sauce

Don't feel like buying a pot? Many second-hand store finds can be re-purposed to be pots - like gallon plastic milk jugs and old tea kettles. Just be sure to add some holes at the bottom for drainage!

2. Pick a winner.

Do the vibrant pink dahlias catch your eye? Do you adore the smell of fresh basil and cook with it often? Let your senses (and most-frequently-made-meals) guide you on what plants to pick! If you're still unsure, our growers always have great suggestions.

Natalie Ortega of Natalie's Garden & Greenhouse shares, "My favorite plants are portulaca because no one can kill them, and they bloom all summer." Portulaca, also called moss rose, looks like a succulent, but features delicate rose-like blooms in shades from yellow to pink. 

"If you have kids (or don't), a sweet cherry tomato like Sun Sugar or Sun Gold makes weeding the garden an easier task for everyone because you have sweet cherry treats waiting for you," Randal of West Star Farm adds.

From onion sets to marigold starts and everything in between - market boasts 100s of herb, veggie, and flower varieties

3. Water (if possible) in the morning and not too much. 

Water in the morning if possible so that the plant can soak it up before the heat of the day evaporates it.   

Randal of West Star Farm has been growing plant starts for 25+ years and he emphasized that most new gardeners tend to over-water their plants. "Plants are amazing and will show you when they are thirsty...just watch for slight color change or drooping/limp leaves. Ideally you want to water just before it gets to this stage. Conversely, you don't want the plants to have wet feet all the time. How often you have to water depends on the container size, plant type and where it is growing," Randal explained.  

4. Savor.

Don't forget to harvest and savor frequently! Randal of West Star Farm reminds us of the bounty awaiting us this summer, "Tomatoes are really fun. There are so many interesting varieties and the taste of freshly grown, garden tomatoes is awesome. I can already taste the BLT with a fresh slice of Ponderosa Pink tomato and some garden grown Romaine lettuce - coupled with some local bacon and sourdough bread."  Yum!  

Zinnias are a 'pollinator-friendly' garden addition as they attract fluttering butterflies and buzzing bees

Reap the benefits of gardening by truly being present - gaze upon your ever-growing zinnias, breathe in deeply the smell of fresh rosemary, and focus on the delight of cooking by chopping up your tomato bounty and transforming it into a fresh pasta sauce.

5. When in doubt, ask the grower behind the stand!

Our growers love working with you to find the perfect plant for you and your space and your success is truly celebrated by them. When in doubt, ask any questions you may have about how to help your garden grow.

"The most rewarding part of our job is seeing happy customers leaving with beautiful plants!" Natalie shares.  

"The stronger and healthier we can grow the plants the better chance for success people will have. When a customer comes back the next spring and tells us a story about their garden, that is the most satisfying," Randal adds. 

You can find Natalie's Garden & Greenhouse at our Wednesday Market, on the corner of E. Wilson and MLK Jr. Blvd, and our Saturday Market on S. Carroll St. Find West Star Farm at our Saturday Market on the Square on S. Pinckney.