We sat down with Travaasa’s farm manager, Kim Grabosky, to get her expert advice and best practices for home gardening. This two-part series provides answers to frequently asked questions associated with raising crops, composting, pest control and common farming myths. Whether you’re just a beginner or home gardening veteran, Farmer Kim is sure to inspire your green thumb during Grow Month.

What are good things for beginners to grow?

Try herbs first. Before you start a garden, make sure to consider timing. Most vegetables are pretty easy to grow if you plant them at the right time of year and protect them from wildlife. If you have limited space you can try little boxes of salad mixes, arugula, cilantro, dill or parsley. If you have ample land or a raised bed, try leafy greens like kale, collards and swiss chard and root vegetables such as carrots, beets and onions. All of these vegetables thrive with very little attention – just be sure not to over or under seed. If you have questions about planting times or pest control check with your local county extension agent, with a farmer at your local farmer’s market, or a trusted garden store.

How can I speed up my compost? 

The more you turn it, the sooner it will be ready. Turning once daily is about the most you could turn compost. To make turning easier, you can buy a compost tumbler or easily make one yourself with a large barrel and a dowel. Make your compost stretch further by brewing your own compost tea from the finished product, and you will increase your ability to fertilize by 100 fold.

What is the most common misconception about fruits and vegetables?

A fruit or vegetable is not a fixed entity. Its nutrients and vitality change depending on when you harvest the plant and how long the plant sits out from the time it gets consumed.