Growing your own vegetables and herbs is easier than you think—and the result is absolute luxury. The essentials: a simple plan, plenty of sunlight, proper nutrition, and ample water.
Inspired? Here are a few tips we gleaned from experts to help you create a thriving edible garden. You'll be picking fresh lettuce for dinner before you know it.
Above: When California-based landscape designer Art Luna creates his edible gardens, he employs one important feature: raised garden beds. These allow you to keep the soil temperature consistent, making for happy fruits and vegetables. While the size of bed depends on the space allowed, Luna often builds his to stand 24 inches high; this is visually appealing and makes it comfortable for a gardener to sit on the edge while weeding. Seen here: an early home vegetable garden in a cedar bed; photograph by Stacey Lindsay.
Above: Adequate sunlight is essential for vegetables to thrive. On the roof of San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel, Chef J.W. Foster keeps four hives and grows citrus trees, vegetables, and classic Mediterranean herbs in dozens of raised beds. Be sure to read literature on the specific vegetables you choose to grow, as the required amount sunlight will vary (an average of at least six hours of daily is usually necessary). Photograph by Marla Aufmuth.
Above: Galvanized metal raised vegetable beds stand in a nine-square grid in Neisha Croland's urban oasis. Whatever environment you to choose to grow edible plants, proper nutrition is necessary. The Pennington Smart Feed Sprayer System provides an easy way to feed your plants. Use with the Tomato & Vegetable Fertilizer tablets to deliver vegetable-specific nutrients and for more information on using the Pennington Smart Feed Sprayer for your next Vegetable Garden DIY, please visit the company's site. Photograph by Christine Hanway.
Above: When embarking on your first vegetable garden, it pays to have a simple plan. Ask yourself: What vegetables do I love to eat? How many mouths do I plan to feed? This will allow you to start with the basics and then build with each season. At the walled garden at Kelmarsh Hall in Northamptonshire, England, rainbow chard, a relatively easy green to cultivate, bursts from the ground. Photograph by Kendra Wilson.
Above: Perhaps one of the most invaluable tools for any garden is a helping hand. Follow the lead of Jen Catto, who threw a brunch party in exchange for expertise from her friend who is a landscape designer (and digging help from other friends to help bring her Brooklyn outdoor space to life). Photograph by Nicole Franzen.
What do the experts love to grow? Allan Jenkins, gardener and editor of Observer Food Monthly in the UK, tells us his all-time favorites in the vegetable garden.