Sometimes starting a new Vegetable garden or adding edibles to your landscape for the first time can be a little intimidating. But with some research and planning, growing your own food can be economical, healthy and really FUN!

You may want to start out by simply stepping back and assessing the planting space. Take note of the sunlight patterns; both how much, and when. Most edible plants are healthier and more productive when they receive more light.

And now’s a good time to think about soil. Starting out with healthy, nutrient-rich soil could be one of the most important factors in any garden. If you are adding edibles to raised beds or an existing landscape, your soil should be loose, well-drained, and rich in composted organic matter. Fir Mulch and Soil Booster are some of the organic soil amendments you can pick-up here at the nursery to give your old soil a fresh new boost of health. When planting in containers it’s best to start out with a new batch of potting soil. Fox Farm Ocean Forest and E.B. Stone Recipe 420 are excellent soil mixes ready for planting in pots. And for big containers or raised beds, give the Gardner & Bloome Raised Bed Potting Soil at try.

Next, do a little research to find out which fruit and veggie varieties will grow and produce well in your local climate. Ask family, friends and neighbors for tips and advice. Local community gardens and nurseries (especially Berkeley Hort) are good sources for ideas and information. Trust me, most of us gardeners love to share (brag) about our success stories.

Now the real fun part; coming up with a plan or a cool theme! You should have a few choices, depending on the space you have to work with and what plants will grow best there. You might try traditional themes like herb & medicinal gardens, ethnic gardens (Asian, French, Italian…), salad gardens (mostly greens) or heirloom gardens (using “old school” varieties and techniques). Why not mix it up and go for a kid’s garden (mostly fruit), a rainbow garden (design by color), a Bonsai fruit garden (small, shaped fruit trees and berries) or a rooftop garden (plenty of sunlight). Or, just keep it simple and pick only 2-3 of your favorite varieties. And grow a bunch of ‘em!

Use your creativity. Build a teepee or tunnel for peas and beans to grow over. Grow strawberries down the side of each doorstep for easy access. Include flowers that are edible or that attract beneficial insects, butterflies and hummingbirds. Keep a journal that includes digital photos or your own drawings.

So, when you’re ready to start having FUN in the garden, come into the nursery store for a complete selection of organic fertilizers & soil amendments, planting containers, tools and other garden supplies. Take a stroll down the herb, fruit and vegetable aisles for your current planting choices. As always, we will be happy to answer any questions you have or share a few tips and ideas.

Whatever you do, Have Fun Out There!