One of my favorite memories of my grandmother is that she was an excellent gardener. She did not have much money, or space, living in New York City, but she always grew fresh herbs, gorgeous tomatoes, and other vegetables that she would cook with. She passed her love of gardening on to me and whenever I work in the soil, I think of her and the way she was able to transform tiny seeds into beautiful, edible works of art.

Gardening feeds the soul, and if you have never tried gardening, but have always wanted to, this might be the perfect year to start. If you are thinking that you missed your window on planting a vegetable garden this year, don’t worry! There are still a variety of vegetables that do well if they are planted in the hot summer months.

In the Pacific Northwest, you can plant lettuce, kale, spinach and arugula in July and expect them to be salad ready by late August.

You can also plant a few herbs like cilantro, dill, and parsley. For those fans of a good beet salad (or beet spread, see recipe below), you can also add some beet seeds to your garden in July as well.

A lush garden in the Summer is a delightful addition to your home and outdoor space. Growing your own herbs and vegetables is a perfectly sustainable way to live more organically. As you control the nutrients in the soil, and avoid pesticides in the garden, you are ensuring that your family can eat healthy and safely. We are firm believers that homegrown vegetables just taste better, especially if they are from your own hard work!

Organic Living is not only about growing fruits and vegetables, it is also about creating a chemical free environment. You can make changes to your cleaning supplies by replacing them with products that are phosphate and phthalate free. Try this simple all-purpose spray:

1 C. Water

½ C. White Vinegar

15 drops each of Lemon Essential Oil and Tea Tree Oil

Combine all ingredients in a glass spray bottle.

Also consider using organic beauty products and buying ethical clothing. This is a great time of year to make some lasting changes in your life.