By now your New Year Resolutions may already be a past memory. But don’t despair; instead consider making a new resolution to maintain a garden this summer. There are many great reasons to garden, but my three favorite are, (1) there is nothing better than picking and eating fresh vegetables and herbs that you grew, (2) backyard gardens add charm to our neighborhood and (3) an hour of gardening burns almost 400 calories.

You don’t need a big area to have a successful garden. In fact, I suggest you start small and focus on a few favorite vegetable and herb varieties. Two of my favorite gardening techniques are building a small raised bed in a sunny section of your property (4ft x 4ft will give you an adequate space) and/or getting some large plastic pots to start a container garden. Both are simple to set up, easy to manage and highly productive.

In deciding on what to plant, go with what you enjoy eating, but also consider your small space. For containers and small areas, herbs are my favorite, especially lots of basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary and oregano. On the vegetable side, I suggest starting with sugar snap peas, bush beans, beets (as you get to eat both the root and the greens), a lettuce blend mix (you can enjoy various salad greens together) and maybe some chard or kale since the they both produce from early in the season beyond first frost. Finally, everyone loves tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes grow great in containers, but if you have room in your raised bed, plant an heirloom slicing tomato. You can’t go wrong with a Brandywine variety.

Gardening is fun, easy and satisfying. Give it at try and if you’d like some more detailed advice, feel free to contact me. If you’re feeling even more ambitious, consider volunteering at the Burnside Plantation Colonial Garden. You can plant and tend your own bed of herbs, flowers or vegetables with a great group of fellow gardeners. The garden provides the seeds, tools, compost and water. Please contact me if you’d like more information.

-Pat Corpora