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Planting a Garden is Easier Than You Think - By Devin Alexander

mother and daughter planting in garden


The AHA is grateful for volunteers, like Devin Alexander - Chef for NBC’s Biggest Loser and author, to lend her voice on topics like this. Devin shares her personal perspective as a chef in this blog entry.

Devin AlexanderSummer, one of the happiest and most awaited times of the year is quickly approaching – YAY! Yay for longer days. Yay for beach parties. Yay for more family time! And YAY for the best season to grow your own amazing, affordable produce!

If you start simple garden planning now, eating a bowl of the most amazing tomatoes you’ve ever indulged in is easier than you may think.

And if that sounds intimidating (trust me, it’s actually really easy), herbs and some of my other favorite veggies are also perfect starter projects for beginners.

  • Cucumbers – so versatile, my favorite is to throw these in my green drinks for an energy boost in the morning. After planting your seeds, be sure to give them good fertilization and they will love you back with plenty to eat.
     
  • Tomatoes – this simple to grow plant will leave you shocked at HOW much better right-off-the-vine tomatoes taste compared to your grocery store picks. For a quicker start-up, head to your local flower store and pick some already sprouted tomato plants in the pot.
     
  • Radishes – these little flavor-bombs are an awesome addition to salads. And guess what? Only 1 calorie per radish! Now THAT’S something I can get excited about. Plant your radish seeds and you only have to wait about 3 weeks to see results.
     
  • Basil – I mean, I am Italian! Basil is such a versatile herb (and smells so so good fresh). Make sure this plant is well watered and has lots of sun. Instead of spending $2 per bunch every week or so, you can spend that and have plenty of basil for months and months (much longer if you have a green thumb and remember to have a neighbor care for it during your summer vacation). :)
     
  • Cilantro – How can you make a Mexican dish without this flavorful herb?! Plant these seeds early in the year for optimal growth.
     
  • Parsley – This versatile herb is also a staple in my green juices. Packed with vitamins A and C it is more than just a garnish. Plus it helps curb bad breath – so bring on the parsley before those summer romances! Parsley loves good soil and sunlight.
     
  • Berries – these are slightly trickier, but worth the extra effort. Growing your own berries (especially the expensive ones like raspberries) will save you so much money it’s unbelievable!

If you aren’t gardening this term, it’s still the perfect time to take advantage of produce in season. I eat the colors of the rainbow, my favorite “harder to grow-ers” being bell peppers, avocados, peaches, cherries, lemons, and limes. Fresh produce can have an amazing effect on your energy levels and overall happiness, so I urge everyone to experiment with their favorites!