Low Maintenance Plants to Jumpstart Your Gardening Journey

Low-maintenance plants and gardens are great ways to start your gardening journey.

Some plants can produce tons of food with minimal effort from you, especially if you set your garden up to be low-effort from the beginning.

First, I will explain how to set up a low-effort garden, and then I will give you some ideas for low-effort plants.

Low Effort Gardens

A low-effort garden starts with a good plan.

First, pick plants with similar soil needs like pH balance, water, and nutritional needs.

Second, arrange them so beneficial plants are close to each other. Companion planting is a great way to use plants to benefit each other and grow big, tasty veggies.

Third, use preventative measures to keep weeds and pests out.

You can buy weed fabric (or several layers of newspaper) that you put down around your plants to block light from reaching the soil and preventing weeds.

And don’t squish wolf spiders or other predatory insects that will eat the herbivorous insects you don’t want in your garden.

Fourth, automate your watering. Using a drip irrigation system allows for more even water distribution, saves water and money, and allows plants to absorb the water very efficiently.

low maintenance plants -- basil growing in a plastic cup

Basil growing in a plastic cup!

Low Maintenance Plants

Growing these veggies will be easy and fun, plus they will make old recipes seem new because homegrown is much tastier.


Most herbs are easy to grow, and some are adapted to thriving in the harshest climates, so they can easily overgrow their patch. Try growing them in containers to prevent this.

And growing them in containers means you can put them close to your kitchen so you can just snip some off the plant when needed.

Remember that when cooking with fresh herbs, you need much more than when cooking with dried. This is because the herbs will lose volume as they cook, resulting in the concentration of the flavors.


Beans are nitrogen fixers and beneficial to the soil, meaning you don’t have to fertilize for nitrogen as much if you plant beans.

You can also sprout beans and eat the sprout. This means that you can germinate the seeds, which can be done on a wet paper towel in a dark area, and put them on a sandwich or in a salad.

Leafy Greens

Lettuces, kale, and spinach are easy to grow in cool weather, so plant these in early spring and enjoy fresh, crisp salads all spring.

When you want to eat, pluck off some outer leaves while leaving the center and roots in the ground.


Peppers of all varieties are easy to grow annually and produce fruit for several weeks.

Young transplants are common and cheap at nurseries every spring, or you can direct sow the seeds to avoid the work of transplanting.

Just ensure there are enough days left for the plant to complete the growing cycle. You can find this information on the back of the seed packet.


Low-maintenance plants and gardens are great for producing food without breaking your back. What would you add to this list?

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Starting Seeds Inside: The Basic Guide

This is the time of year my family would begin starting seeds inside. The first week of February was about dreaming of summer by fixing the soil in seedling trays. The next several weeks brought tiny little plants that always fascinated me. 


This post will teach you the basics of seed starting and give you a list of great veggies to germinate before planting. 


Germinating Seeds

Germination is the process by which a seed leaves dormancy and begins to grow. Many people like to eat these young plants as sprouts or microgreens. 


When Should You Start Your Seeds?

This will depend on 2 factors: where you live and what you are starting. The general rule is to start most veggies 8 weeks before your area’s last frost date, but some have unique requirements. 


How to Start Your Seeds


You only need a few things: a container, a medium, seeds, and water. Then, follow the directions on the back of the seed packet for individualized instructions on the best methods for starting those seeds. 


The Container

The container can be a special seed starting, pot, or even a milk jug. The criteria you need to meet is the container needs to be easily covered. In addition, the humidity must be high at the beginning of the germination process, but you must remove the cover as the seedlings grow. 


The Medium

Your medium can be peat moss mix, simple soil, or a paper towel. The most crucial part is that it keeps an even dampness. So you want it to hold a decent amount of water without staying wet to prevent mold. 


The Seeds

Seeds that are from the previous year will have the best germination rates. Older seeds may germinate, but it could take longer, and fewer seeds will start to grow. 



Once you secure the seeds in the medium, you must use enough water to keep the soil damp but not wet. Overwatering can cause mold to grow. 


Finishing Your Seeds

Cover your container with transparent plastic to keep the moisture and heat in to encourage the best conditions for germination. As your seedlings grow, you will need to remove the cover altogether. A few weeks before transplanting, you will need to set the seedlings outside for progressively longer times. This “hardening off” process lets the plant get used to the sun without sunburn. 


Best Veggies to Start Inside

The following are just a few of the best veggies to start inside. 


Tomatoes and Peppers

They easily germinate and take bout 6-8 weeks to be ready to transplant outside. These are super popular among gardeners, so you can find many varieties. Just sow in seed starting mix, water lightly, and place in a sunny spot. 


Cucumbers and Melons

Another group of easily germinated plants, these don’t have as many varieties as tomatoes and peppers, but you will have no problem finding tasty ones that fit your needs. These also take 6-8 weeks to be ready for transplanting. Sow like tomatoes and peppers.  



Sow in peat most a few weeks before the last frost date in your area. Then, place the container in a sunny window and transplant it as soon as the ground can be worked. 



Starting your own seeds can save you money versus buying transplants. So what seeds do you start inside?

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Packing Plants for Transport

Packing plants for moving or shipping can feel daunting. Yet, you put so much care and effort into these beings that you can’t imagine them being damaged during transport.

I will show you how to pack seeds, cuttings, bare-root plants, and whole plants for transport.

Transporting Seeds

Seeds are the easiest things to transport.

Start with clean, dry seeds. It is vital that they are dry. Wet seeds may begin to germinate or grow mold.

Then pack them in a paper envelope labeled with the type of seed and year.

Last, pack the envelopes into a plastic box or another waterproof container to keep them dry during the journey.

Transporting Cuttings

Taking a cutting is one of the easiest ways to propagate plants.

If you are shipping or moving with a cutting, you can easily pack it to protect it.

First, you must wait to cut it off the mother plant as close to leaving as possible. Then, cut in a diagonal line to allow for maximum water transfer from packing materials.

Then you want to remove most of the leaves on the cutting. This reduces the energy needs of the cutting so that it can stay alive longer.

Next, you want to wrap the cut end of the plant in a damp paper towel or sphagnum moss. It is essential to make sure the towel or moss is only damp. Too much water may let mold grow during the transport process.

Fourth, you need to put the cut end and wet towel into a plastic bag, but do not place the leaves of the cutting into the bag.

Fifth, tape the bag closed to keep the water in, then tape the bag and stem of the cutting to the side of the box you will be shipping it in. This will help keep the plant still, ensure the cut end stays wet, and prevent damage to the stem and leaves.

Lastly, fill the rest of the box with soft packing material, like sphagnum moss, to help absorb shocks during the rough parts of shipping.

Protip: If you are traveling with your cuttings, it is a good idea to keep them handy, so you can check the water levels and for damage.

Transporting Bare-Root Plants

Trees, shrubs, and bushes are usually sold as bare-root plants. This means they are dug up once they are dormant and then prepared for transport.

Dormancy is when deciduous plants do not grow and lose their leaves. It usually happens during winter, although we can use artificial lighting setups to force dormancy.

If you are transporting a bare-root plant, you need only to remove as much dirt as possible.

Then wrap the roots in slightly damp burlap. You want only enough water to keep the roots from drying out completely. Remember, too much water can compromise your plant and cause damage to the plant or allow mold to thrive.

Next, you need to trim the shoots of the plant. Trim them enough so they easily fit into the space you will use to transport them.

If you are shipping them in a box, secure the wet burlap in plastic, then tape the plastic bag and shoot to the side of the box. Then fill the container with soft packing material like sphagnum moss.

Transporting Whole Plants

Packaging whole plants for transport is relatively easy.

First, you need to make sure they are in the appropriate pot. The pot needs to be the right size and plastic so it won’t break from hard shocks during shipping. Bonus points: If the pot is slightly flexible, you can squish multiple pots together to fit them into tight spaces.

Next, you need to protect the foliage.

The easiest way is to wrap the plant in plastic, burlap, or netting. Start at the base of the plant and wrap up, so all the foliage points up. Do not wrap tightly as you will damage the vegetation. Instead, keep a loose wrap so the plant can move with the transport stress.


If you are shipping plants, check with your local post office because you may need to label the box in a particular way.

Shipping or moving with plants is stressful, but with a bit of prep, you can do it in a way that protects your plants.

Have you ever received a shipped plant before? I have. It was a beautiful cutting of a variety of Pothos houseplant.

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Edible Plants You Can Grow Inside

onions growing in a container on a kitchen counter, edible plants you can grow insideGrowing edible plants inside isn’t tricky.

All you need is an appropriate container, enough light, and to pick varieties that grow well in containers.

Picking the Right Container

Whenever you want to grow edible plants inside, you need to pick a container that meets the needs of your plants.

When picking a container, you must consider several things, like drainage and size.


Sitting water encourages root rot, and this problem can persist in the winter because lower temperatures do not cause evaporation like in the summer.

Make sure any pot you use has drainage holes. You can obviously buy pots with holes, but when I grew herbs in containers, it was much cheaper to buy other containers and add holes with a drill.


Some plants grow more extensive root systems or have root systems that spread out and stay relatively shallow in the soil.

So it is crucial to understand the plant’s needs for the size and shape of your plants. For example, you don’t need a deep container if you want to grow strawberries. However, a tomato plant produces a more extensive root ball, so its container must be much deeper than the strawberry.


When growing plants inside, you must ensure they get enough light.

You may be lucky for things like small herbs and have a south-facing window without obstructions blocking the light. This means they may get enough light just sitting on the window sill.

But if you want to grow things like fruits or veggies, you must get a grow light that will provide 8 hours of sunlight daily.

You can choose grow lights to fit your needs, too. For example, you can get them with automatic timers, so you don’t have to remember to turn them off once the plants have met their daily light needs.

Edible Plants that Grow Well in Containers

Many plants grow well in containers. Below is a list of the most common edible plants you can grow inside.


Herbs are a popular choice for growing edible plants inside. They do well in containers and only take up a little space.

The best herbs for growing inside are basil, oregano, rosemary, chives, thyme, sage, and mint. And these herbs come in various varieties, so you can produce many different versions simultaneously.

Peppers and Tomatoes

Peppers and tomatoes need bigger pots, but they can thrive indoors, given enough light. Wouldn’t it be awesome to have fresh garden salsa all year long?


Microgreens are different from the above plants. They can quickly grow inside because they don’t need light. Microgreens are the early growth of things like beans. To grow them, lay beans on damp (but not wet) paper towels, cover them with another damp paper towel, put them in a plastic bag or tray, and put them in a dark place. In as little as 5 days, they will have grown into leggy little, delicious things.


Do you grow any edible plants inside? Tell me about it!

Top 8 Edible Plants You Can Grow in Winter

When temperatures start to drop, many people think gardening has to stop. That’s not true. Here are the top 8 edible plants you can grow in winter.

Tons of edible plants can survive winter temperatures, rain, and poor soil drainage conditions. And purple varieties, in particular, contain a compound (anthocyanin) that helps prevent root rot in wet soils.

Below, I have divided the vegetables into ultra-hardy and semi-hardy categories. Ultra-hardy plants can survive heavy frosts and temperatures below 28℉. Semi-hardy plants can survive light frosts and temperatures between 28-32℉.

Ultra-Hard Vegetables

Spinach – Growing spinach in the winter may result in sweeter leaves. This is because the plant produces more sugar and stores it in the vascular network in the leaves. It keeps the plant from experiencing freeze damage.

Garlic – Garlic is more adapted to cold weather, so fall-planted crops need much less care than spring-planted crops. The bulbs also grow bigger since the soil conditions are optimum. Also, choose hardneck varieties as they do better in the winter than softneck varieties.

Rhubarb – Rhubarb is a cold-loving plant and doesn’t grow well in warmer temperatures. In fact, temperatures must be under 40℉ for the perennial to come out of its dormancy. Also, only the leaf stalks of the plant are edible, so don’t eat the leaves.

Austrian Winter Pea – Easy to grow in large quantities, you can cut off young shoots for salads and stirfry or wait until they develop pods around springtime. And these peas are nitrogen fixers which means they can use nitrogen from the air to produce nitrogen compounds that increase nitrogen levels in the soil.

Semi-Hard Veggies

Beets – Beets will go to seed if the temperatures get too cold, so do your best to harvest them before hard frosts (under 28℉). However, growing your beets in cooler temperatures of fall and winter will result in sweeter beets because the roots store sugar to help prevent freeze damage.

Parsnip – Parsnips are another vegetable that gets sweeter when left in the soil over winter. And it is easiest to grow them from seed, but the seeds do not germinate well if they are more than a year old, so get fresh seeds every year.

Lettuce – Lettuces come in wide varieties and colors, so you can probably find tasty varieties that you can grow in your winter climate. Many gardeners use cold frames or hoop houses to negate the slower growth rate of winter.

Cabbage – Cabbage is a cool weather crop which means it does well in cool weather, but if you want to grow it in a frigid climate, you may need to add some protection from the cold like mulch, covering the heads, or a cold frame or hoop house.


Because temperatures are low and the sunlight is limited, growing winter gardens means your plants will show a slower growth rate than growing these plants in the spring or fall. Be patient and consistent, and spring could bring a sweet harvest!

These were the top 8 edible plants you can grow in winter. What do you like to grow in the winter? Leave me a comment below to start a conversation!

The Best TikTok Gardening Channels


Tiktok is a great place to feel community. And #gardentok does not disappoint. Below is a list of the Tiktok Gardening channels!

Gardening with Goo

Gardening with Goo follows Goo and his garden! He constantly grows tasty-looking veggies and spreads real know-how by sharing his experiences. 

Growing with Gertie

Gertie (aka Katie) shares top-tier gardening tips and recipes like vegan nacho cheese to make with your harvest. 

Hook and Garden

Hook and Garden is full of gardening tips and tricks and bee-keeping adventures. 

Planted in the Garden

This channel follows Char and Marv as they grow gardens, make herbal remedies, and cook delicious-looking recipes. 

Carmen in the Garden

Carmen is a charming young woman who loves to garden and cook.


Gardenary shares many raised bed gardening tips, winter gardening tips, and general gardening tips.


Bonus Channels

These channels aren’t vegetable gardening per se, but I have to include them because they offer a lot of excellent plant knowledge and can improve your gardening. 

Native Plant Tok

Kyle Lybarger is a forester and native plant enthusiast. He introduces his audience to beautiful native plants that play essential roles in their ecosystems. And he even suggests native alternatives to invasive ornamental plants. 

Alexis Nikole aka Black Forager

Alexis Nikole is a very knowledgeable food forager. She takes you into her community, where she harvests and uses local plants and fungi in delicious recipes. She talks about recognizing edible wild foods, cooking safely, and their importance in cultural history. My favorite video is on the Poke plant.  


In my opinion, these are the best Tiktok gardening channels. Did you see your favorite TikTok Gardener on our list? Who did we miss? 

9 New Year’s Resolutions for Gardeners

pile of vegetables, woman holding an eggplant

New Year, New Garden, right?

The new year allows us to start from a clean slate and decide what is essential and which is not. And that is where you should start your resolutions.

Consider what things are important to you and which are not. Make a list.

Below are a few things I will work on in my own garden this year.

Plan Early and Thoroughly

This year, I want to plan my garden early so I can test and add my amendments to the soil with enough time to acclimate and prevent chemical burns to my new plants.

Planning early allows me to research and adjust if there are plants or seeds I can’t get.

I also want to plan out more details than I usually do.

This includes double-checking what seeds and products I have, my square footage, and the estimated number of plants, and spending less time going back and forth to the store, ultimately saving me money.

Take Better Care of My Tools

I am so bad about exposing my tools to the elements or letting my school-age kids lose them.

So this year, I want to keep them in a protected place if I am not using them. And I want to keep them clean and oiled better.

Make my Garden a Community

We spend a lot of time in the garden, so this year, I want to make it a place where the whole family works together to make memories, get closer, and teach my kids good character.

But I also want to make it a place of rest. My parents would sit together in our garden every evening. My dad always said they were watching the plants grow, but now I understand it was an excellent place for them to escape the fast-paced modern life and the noise of a large family.

Donate Extra Produce to a Food Bank

Food banks and soup kitchens often find fresh produce a scarce commodity even though it adds much pleasure to the sensation of eating.

I want to grow enough food to donate plenty of produce.

Care for My Soil

I want to care for my soil that doesn’t just consist of adding fertilizer.

Instead, I want to use cover crops, amendments, and compost to create soil that nourishes my plants and beneficial bugs.

Attract More Beneficial Bugs

Some bugs are great for your garden.

I resolve to grow more plants that attract pollinators and predatory insects so my garden can thrive with less effort or chemicals.

Grow Something Adventurous

Grow something new or something you don’t usually grow. It will help you stay excited about your garden and give you a sense of newness to your garden.

Also, it will be fun to show your friends and try it out together!

Add More Perennials

Last, I want to add more perennials to my garden. Berry bushes, trees, asparagus, rhubarb, chives, and artichoke are all delicious and grow back year after year.

This means more food growing and less planting every year.


My New Year’s Resolutions are probably different than yours. What is on your list? Is it different from mine? Leave me a comment below!

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Companion Planting: A Brief Introduction


Companion planting is the practice of planting certain plants close to each other that benefit one another.

It’s an easy way to reduce garden labor, use less fertilizer, and grow healthy plants.

Companion Planting: Sources are Important

Before I give you some tips for companion planting, I caution that a significant portion of companion advice on the internet needs to be backed up by science. Some of the advice comes from folklore, people’s personal experiences, or tradition. Other advice is straight-up quackery.

Botanists and agricultural scientists are exploring which companion planting combinations offer benefits. They are finding great pairings that can reduce insect activity, share nitrogen, and improve soil quality.

Carefully review your sources before companion planting to ensure you don’t accidentally sow plants that are detrimental to each other too close to one another.

Classic Example of Companion Planting: Three Sisters Grouping

For generations, several groups of indigenous cultures of the Americas would plant corn, beans, and squash together. This grouping is called The Three Sisters because they do better when grown together.

Beans are nitrogen fixers, meaning they can absorb nitrogen from the environment and then secrete excess nitrogen as compounds that other plants can use.

The giant leaves of the squash prevent sunlight from reaching the soil, keeping the roots cool and preventing weed growth.

And the strong corn stalk is the perfect stake for growing beans.

This is a perfect example of how growing certain plants together can support each other and reduce the need for human labor in the garden.

Helpful Companion Planting Pairings

Below I outline a few beneficial companion pairings. If you have anything to add to the list, please leave us a comment below!

Cucumbers and Tomatoes

Cucumbers act as living mulch to prevent weed growth.

This happens in 2 ways.

First, the broad shape and size of the cucumber leaves block out the light preventing germination of weed seeds. This also help keep the roots cool.

Second, cucumber roots excrete allelpathic compounds that keep weed seeds from germinating. This means that you should not sow tomato seeds among cucumber plants, but instead transplant seedlings.

Green Beans and Potatoes

Green beans fix small amounts of nitrogen that it shares with the potato plants, increasing the size of the potatoes.

You can achieve this outcome in 2 ways. You can plant alternate rows of potatoes and green beans or you can plant alternate plants in the same row.

Sweet Alyssum and Lettuce

Sweet Alyssum attracts flies and wasps that feeds on aphids and other small insects. Plant sweet alyssum in the rows between the rows of lettuce or as a border around your lettuce patch.

Bonus Plant: Marigolds

Marigolds don’t get enough credit. They are cheap, beautiful and help deter tons of harmful bugs like aphids because marigolds attract beneficial insect like parasitic wasps and ladybugs. They may also secrete compounds that help protect the roots of nearby plants from parasites.


Companion planting is a great way to reduce labor and grow healthier plants, but it is a discipline that does not have a lot of scientific research available so be ware of suspicious advice.

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Gift Exchange Ideas With Fellow Gardeners

gifts for gardeners: female hands wrapping a red christmas presentGiving gardeners thoughtful and useful gifts is easy! I will provide you with a few ideas for great gifts for fellow gardeners so you can find a touching gift for the important gardener in your life (even if that’s you!).


Multitools are a small collection of tools that usually fold into a rectangular shape and easily fit into your pocket. They typically include cutting implements like scissors, knives, and saws but can also have small hammers and simple screwdrivers.

These make great gifts for gardeners because we often need all those tools in the garden, and having one you can fit in your pocket means you can always find it.


Gardening jackets and aprons make great gifts because they are extra durable and have pockets that are made to carry heavy or delicate things.

They are usually made of canvas to protect your skin and clothes, though you can get them in other materials like denim. You can even get them customized with names or for tasks like gathering eggs.


Gardening gloves provide protection from dirt, thorns, roots, and insects. And they are easily lost.

There are many patterns, and you can get different ones designed for other uses, like aerating soil, pruning, or preventing calluses.


T-Shirts are always fun gifts because you can browse through endless designs, shapes, and colors until you find the perfect one.


It is important to stay hydrated during gardening, so water bottles and cups are useful, and you can find cute gardening-related graphics or sayings. These can also be personalized to add more thought to the gift.


Headwear helps ward off sunburn on our faces and necks and helps keep us cool. They are another gift that you can pick the perfect graphic or pithy statement.


Baskets make great gifts because they can be instrumental in the garden to help carry harvests or supplies and make great home decor.

They come in various materials, shapes, and sizes so that you can find the perfect one.

Subscription Boxes

Consider a subscription box if you are looking for something that keeps the gifting going all year.

Small boxes are delivered to their home once a month. Each box has a theme and includes tools, seeds, or supplies and instructions on how to achieve the goal of the box.

And you can pick boxes that do different things than just vegetable gardening. You can pick houseplants, flowers, or even heirloom seeds to spice things up.

Magazine Subscriptions

Old-fashioned magazine subscriptions make a great gift, too. And you can choose digital options if the receiver of the gift prefers.


Did you enjoy these ideas for gift ideas for gardeners? What would you add?

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Tips to Prevent Winter Plant Damage


Winter plant damage can come from several places: storm damage, frozen roots, and damage to foliage from cold temperatures and strong winds.

But with some planning and hard work, you can prevent these types of damages on your precious plants.

Protecting Foliage

Covering Trees/Shrubs

If you fear that the leaves or needles of your trees or shrubs may be damaged, the easiest way to protect them is to cover them with plastic or burlap.

Simply wrap the plant and secure it snugly with tape.

If your plant needs extra protection from the cold, you can wrap it in newspaper before wrapping it in plastic.

One of the essential things to know is you are trying to keep ice off the foliage, so make sure the plant is covered enough to keep out cold water or snow.

Covering Plots


You can get a burlap blanket if you are trying to cover a larger area than just 1 tree or shrub.

Make sure the blanket is big enough to cover the edges to the ground to prevent pockets of cold from seeping under the edges.

And unlike trees and shrubs, you do not want to secure the blanket around individual plants. It will cause damage to the stems, and if the blanket shifts, it can pull on the other plants and damage them.

Covered Garden

You can build a cold screen, a round top covering for your garden, almost like a mini greenhouse.

It consists of flexing poles on each edge of your garden row or plot. Then, you cover the poles with a special plastic. That allows light and heat in and then traps it.

I have seen people build them big enough to walk into. That person put a heater in there and had tomatoes all winter.

Upcycled Ideas

You can also solve this winter plant damage problem with recycled materials. One example is by making cold boxes out of old windows.

Protecting Roots

The best way to protect the roots of any plant is to mulch the area properly. Laying down a thick layer will protect the ground from freezing temperatures and cold water, which can cause significant damage to roots.

Several materials make good winter mulch.

Many people pick fallen leaves or evergreen needles as mulch. They are free and can be worked right into the soil during the spring instead of needing to be removed like artificial mulches.

Compost is another popular winter mulch. It will undoubtedly keep the cold away from the soil and produce heat as it breaks down.

Protecting Trunks/Stems

It is important to note that if your area sees a lot of snow or ice during cold weather, the trunks or stems of plants need extra support to ensure they stay straight.

Ice and snow can build up a lot of weight and bend the trunks/stems of young trees and shrubs. Therefore, it’s essential to brace these plants or keep the snow from accumulating.


Follow these simple tips to protect your plants this winter, you can ensure that your garden is healthy and vibrant come spring. With the right guidance and proper preparation, even the harsh winter weather can’t stand in the way of you enjoying beautiful plants and flowers in the months to come.

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