Home gardening tips: GIY tomatoes
Grow-it-yourself is the new do-it-yourself. Unfortunately, I tend have the touch of death for plants. But you know what? I didn’t let looking awful in denim overalls stop me from wearing them throughout the 90’s, so I haven’t let being plant kryptonite stop me from growing my own juicy tomatoes and fresh herbs. 

I’ve got a black-thumb-proof plan for growing edibles this season so that I can cook with homegrown herbs and produce. And, you know, hang with the GIY cool kids–also known as the hungry boy and his hungry brother.

Determined to grow, too? Here’s what to do in just a few easy steps.

1. Decide what to grow and where to grow it  
I’m starting simple. The kids will be tending to egg carton gardens and I’m going to take care of a few small containers with the guidance of this clear step-by-step container garden tutorial by gardening guru Amy Pennington. Check out her easy gardening series on Food52, even if you have greater ambitions than I do.

Shortcut alert: Check out this genius, no-fuss method for growing tomatoes. It does not get easier: tomato plant in bag of soil, advance to go. Or, in this case, step 7 below.

Egg carton garden kits from In the Koop
2. Choose seeds
Selecting seeds may seem simple for you gardening types, but I can’t believe how many options there are. In the Koop keeps
things simple with pre-packaged, kid-themed seed sets (at right), all of which
come with instructions that make it easy to include kiddos. Humble Seed also sells variety packs–11 vegetables in one set!–of non-GMO and non-hybrid seeds.

Shortcut alert: If you don’t want to germinate seeds yourself, buy a young plant that’s already sprouted and skip to step 5. 

3. Get the right soil
soil you use for planting an outdoor plot is different than the kind
you need for container plants. Choose the right kind, and look
for organic, too. Have dirt-y questions? You can get help from someone at your
garden center or check out the dirt on soil at You Grow Girl. 

4. Germinate your seeds 
Amy Pennington saves the day again with another easy-breezy tutorial on how to germinate seeds

Chalkboard kitchen herb planters
5. Plan your plot or pick a pretty container
Once your seedlings sprout–or if you’ve purchased a sprouted plant–you’ll need to transfer them to their permanent home. This garden planner can help you organize a plot. As for me, I’m going to make a few of these chalkboard painted pots with the boys.

6. Label your plants
If you don’t go with chalkboard pots, how about chalkboard garden labels? You can buy 10 for $14 or make your own. Want something a little more elegant? I’m crazy for these made-to-order garden labels. A little pricey (4 for $32), but lovely! 

7. Watch your edibles grow… and start picking recipes 
I love how Heavy Petal pairs
notes on growing vegetables with recipes that use them. What better way
to get excited about growing food?! I’ll also be checking in regularly
with The Year in Food for seasonal recipes that are sure to be perfect for my mini-crop all year long. 

That’s it! 

Oh, er, did I mention watering your plants? Yea, remember to do that, too. (Black thumb strikes again.) -Stacie

[tomato image by Kimberley of The Year in Food]

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