If you’d like the incalculable pleasure of harvesting a handful of fresh veggies and herbs to use in your meal, now is the time to plan a garden. Whether you’ve got a big yard, a tiny strip of earth beside the back door, or even a good-sized window box, here are some tips to ensure happy results.

  1. Know When to Plant Your Garden

    Timing is everything. Many, though not all, vegetables must be planted after the danger of frost has passed. Spinach and kale, for example, are impervious to colder temperatures, and some gardeners believe their flavor is enhanced after exposure to frost. Try planting a row of spinach in early spring, followed by lettuces and radishes that can be harvested before hot weather arrives and causes them to “bolt” – a spurt of quick growth that can cause a bitter flavor.

    Even when the weather has warmed, control the impulse to dig in wet earth, as this will compact the soil, collapsing all of the tiny passages created by nature for good aeration and drainage, two components crucial to a thriving garden.

  2. Research What Grows Best Based on Where You Live

    Knowing what plants grow best in your region is crucial. Follow guidelines on your nursery tags and consult the USDA’s updated map to learn what growing zone you live in. Keep in mind that every landscape has “micro zones” that allow some leeway in your planting. A southern exposure or placement of plants along a protected wall or corner of your patio, for example, will often provide enough added warmth for more tender plants to survive a frost. Some trial and error is worth the effort.

Try these healthy farm-to-table Vitamix recipes

  1. Gazpacho- Nothing tastes fresher than the classic chilled soup brimming with crisp veggies.
  2. Spiked Honeydew Sorbet - An easy seasonal cocktail that celebrates summer’s peak.
  3. Broccoli Cheese Soup - A family favorite made better with broccoli you’ve raised yourself.
  4. Red Cabbage and Beet Beverage - Unexpected ingredients combine to create a healthy flavor sensation.
  5. Potato Cheddar Breakfast Bake - Easy, satisfying and perfect for company.