Yes, You Can Grow a Garden This Spring—All You Need Is 15 Minutes

Person holding carrots in garden.

Dougal Waters / Getty

You know it's spring when tree-lined streets are fragrant with beautiful blossoms and farmers markets are filled with freshly harvested herbs, fruits, and vegetables. And, while you appreciate nature and farm-to-table and organic fare, you’ve never considered growing your own garden because you simply don’t have the time. Is it even possible when you have a demanding schedule? Or maybe you’ve thought about it, but felt intimidated. You're not alone: Some of us aren’t even sure we can keep a cactus alive.

According to Greg Salmeri, owner of Rolling Greens Nursery, you can nurture plants with just five, 10, or 15 minutes a day. The Los Angeles landscape designer describes many of his friends as “aspirational gardeners.” “They really want to be out in the yard, and they appreciate the beauty of the yard, but they don’t feel like they have the time to dedicate to having a successful garden,” he explains. “A little attention in the yard goes a long way.”

In fact, he’s only taken one horticulture class ever. “Everything else I learned on the job,” he shares. So there is hope. Keep reading if you’ve ever killed a succulent or if you were under the impression that you don't have time to grow a garden.

Here's how to grow a garden in 15 minutes or less per day and the seven easiest spring vegetables to grow.

01 of 07

Mint

Mint

MyDomaine / Stephanie DeAngelis

If you have five minutes, you can grow this aromatic herb. It not only smells beyond refreshing and is a natural pest repellent, but it also makes an amazing tea for calming nerves and anxiety, explains Salmeri. Added bonus? “It’s rumored to soothe hangovers,” he quips. Perfect. Because you know what else mint is great for? Mojitos.

How to Grow It: “Start with mint seeds and a large, deep pot about 10 inches in diameter. Mint will grow fast and sprawl,” explains Salmeri. “Fill the container with potting soil, and plant the seeds.”

02 of 07

Microgreens

Microgreens

MyDomaine / Stephanie DeAngelis

Another one that's quick to plant are microgreens. These nutrient-dense plants are exactly as the name suggests, “a very small, young, and tender edible leaf.” Greg says that microgreens have even more nutrients than their full-grown counterparts, depending on their species. Preparing a dish with the plant is just as low-maintenance as growing them. Add vinaigrette dressing and strawberries, and you’ve got yourself a seasonal salad!

How to Grow It: “Purchase a variety of seeds such as dill, beets, basil, kale, or Swiss chard. Fill a shallow pot with a drainage hole or a seedling tray with potting mix. Moisten the soil with water to make it damp but not wet. Sprinkle in your seeds so they are close to each other, and sift a thin layer of soil over those seeds. Using a spray bottle, lightly mist that top layer of soil,” explains Salmeri.

Watering: “Place your seedlings on a sunny windowsill in a room that stays between 60 to 70 degrees,” he says. The plant will germinate in three to five days and requires a swift daily misting of the soil.

03 of 07

Carrots

Carrots

MyDomaine / Stephanie DeAngelis

If you have 10 minutes, plant some carrots. This root vegetable is best known to improve vision, but carrots are also rich in vitamins and minerals, including folate; manganese; potassium; thiamin; niacin; and vitamins B6, A, C, and K. Basically, “Eat carrots!” Salmeri jokes. Roast the superfood, which begins to sprout in two weeks, for a simple and healthy meal, or eat it raw.

How to Grow It: “You’ll need carrot seeds and a container or window box that is 1.5 feet deep as well as wide. You’ll also want drainage holes at the bottom. Fill the container to just under an inch of the top of the container with potting soil,” he says, noting to water the soil before planting the seeds. Next, “plant the seeds one inch apart in rows that are six inches apart from each other by gently pressing the seeds into the soil and then covering with a thin layer of that soil. Water again.”

04 of 07

Basil

Basil

MyDomaine / Stephanie DeAngelis

If you have a spare 10 minutes, try growing some basil. Among the many benefits of this fragrant and flavorful herb are anti-inflammation, cancer-fighting, and pain-reducing properties. It’s also great for cocktails, and it’s the MVP in pesto.

How to Grow It: “Purchase seeds and a container that is at least four inches wide with good drainage holes,” says Salmeri. “Basil loves warm temperatures and lots of sunlight—at least six hours of direct sunlight per day.”

Watering: “You’ll need to water it once a day,” he says. Fertilizing and pruning are also important. It’ll take 10 minutes once a month to fertilize the soil. Salmeri suggests using an organic fertilizer like compost tea. Regarding pruning, start once the plant is six inches in height and bushier. “Also be sure to snip off any flowers that appear,” he points out.

05 of 07

Rosemary

Rosemary

MyDomaine / Stephanie DeAngelis

“Aside from the dreamy smell, this herb is rich in antioxidants that may help limit weight gain and improve cholesterol levels,” says Salmeri. Need he say more? Plant this one if you have a spare 15 minutes.

How to Grow It: “Start by planting seeds or propagating cuttings in a container with holes in the bottom for drainage,” he says. “For rosemary, this requires 15 minutes since you need to curate the soil for the plant.” What you’ll need: a soil made from a mixture of two parts potting soil to one part coarse sand. “Then you’ll need to add one teaspoon of lime (the agricultural kind, not the citrus fruit!) per five inches of pot in order to to make the soil alkaline,” explains Salmeri.

Watering: “Water only when the top of the soil is dry to the touch,” he says. “Be sure not to let the soil dry out completely.” Rosemary needs to live in a sunny spot and receive at least six hours of direct sunlight.

06 of 07

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

MyDomaine / Stephanie DeAngelis

This vegetable is among the top anti-cancer foods. Tomatoes get their red hue from a phytochemical called lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant. There is also evidence that supports the idea that the cancer-fighting potential is increased if tomatoes are consumed in the form of tomato sauce. Hello, pizza and pasta.

How to Grow It: “Start with a six-inch pot for one plant, and fill the container with starter potting soil,” says Salmeri. “Plant the seeds about 1/4-inch deep. Water and keep the soil moist but not soggy, and then place the container in an area that receives a substantial amount of light.” Be sure to turn the pot every few days so that all sides soak in the sunshine.

Expect the seeds to germinate within five to 10 days. “When they hit three inches, transplant them from starter mix to potting soil. Two weeks after transplanting, add in organic fertilizer,” he says. 

Watering: “Follow the rule of keeping them moist but not soggy,” Salmeri says. Also, the plant may need to be staked as it grows to avoid breakage, he warns.

07 of 07

Scallions

Scallions

MyDomaine / Stephanie DeAngelis

Want to know how simple growing scallions is? Seeds aren’t required! The spring onion, part of the allium family, is associated with protecting the body from free radicals and assists in cancer protection. It’s also a great alternative to onions because it's less pungent.

How to Grow It: “Buy a bunch of scallions, preferably from the farmers market, and place the entire bunch (yes, the whole thing) in a glass with one inch of water,” explains Salmeri. Change the water daily, which should take you less than five minutes. “When new green shoots appear and the roots have doubled in length (it should take about seven to 10 days), plant the scallions in a small shallow pot."

Watering: “Keep the plants evenly watered,” he advises, so don’t let the soil get too dry before rehydrating again. The scallions should also receive full sun, which is at least six hours per day.

Article Sources
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