It’s that time of the year when avid gardeners start to prep their soil—and the perfect opportunity for new gardeners to get in on the fun with their own easy-to-grow veggies and herbs. Plus, gardening is a great activity to do with the whole family because it helps educate the little ones on the food they eat every day.

Starting your own garden takes a little effort in the beginning, but if you stick with it, gardening becomes very rewarding over time. And one of the greatest benefits is giving your home-cooked meals the artisanal flavor that can only come from fresh, high-quality herbs and veggies.

At Dietz & Watson, we hand-season our products with handcrafted spices and seasonings, to create bold flavor combinations. Now, we want to show you how to enrich the meals you make at home with flavorful homegrown herbs and veggies. We’ve put together a list of our favorite foolproof greens that can be even be grown in the city in small pots, as long as you have sunny windowsills or balconies for your plants.

Starting your own garden takes a little effort in the beginning, but if you stick with it, gardening becomes very rewarding over time.

Basil & tomatoes

Tomatoes are the most popular garden vegetable for a reason—they’re fun to grow and extremely versatile in terms of shapes, tastes, and sizes. When starting to plant them—whether they’re potted, or in a vertical or indoor garden. The best time to plant them is when the weather starts to warm. Growing tomatoes prefer 8 hours of sunlight a day at temperatures between 65 and 85 °F. As for basil—they can grow indoors too, as long as you set the plant on a sunny windowsill. But basil is very frost sensitive, so you need to make sure they’re somewhere warm on chilly nights.

Try it in our Kid Friendly Caprese.

Kid Friendly Caprese

Parsley

As with many herbs, parsley can be successfully grown indoors in a container herb garden, in full sun or light shade. In very hot climates, it is best to give the plants partial shade. When planting, sow seeds directly in the garden about 2 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost, and plant the seeds ¼ inch deep. Keep in mind the plants have deep root systems, so avoid using shallow pots.

Try it in our Corned Beef & Sharp Cheddar Hash Egg Bake.

Corned Beef & Sharp Cheddar Hash Egg Bake

Lettuce

Lettuce makes a great addition to any home vegetable garden because it is so easy to grow. Urban farmers—plant it in flat, fairly shallow containers with good drainage. Grow any of the most popular kinds—Iceberg, Butterhead or Romaine. Keep in mind most varieties of lettuce grow well in light shade, but make sure to provide the seedlings with plenty of direct sunlight. This plant thrives in cool weather, which is usually late spring, early summer, and early fall.

Try it in our Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wrap.

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wrap

Kale

Kale is a cool-season green that grows best in the spring and the fall. It can tolerate temperatures as low as 20°F, but will start to turn bitter in temperatures over 80°F. Keep in mind, kale will taste even sweeter with a touch of frost. Another thing to note is that if you’re planting during the cool season, find a spot where your kale will receive full sunshine, but if you’re planting during warmer seasons, plant kale in partial shade. If you’re growing it indoors, sprinkle the seeds over pots full of moistened potting mixture, then cover with a thin layer of soil. Just make sure the seedlings get at least 14 hours of light a day from the grow light.

Try it in our Kale & Asiago Spinach Sausage Grilled Cheese.

Kale & Asiago Spinach Sausage Grilled Cheese

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