Is your mouth hungry for a ripe, warm-from-the-sun tomato? With maybe a little freshly picked basil sprinkled on top?
Or how about a crisp lettuce leaf or two for that sandwich you’re building for lunch? Or to tuck inside that sizzling just grilled hamburger?
“YES!!” you shout. But then your dream fades and reality sets in.
You don’t have a garden.
There are a lot of reasons why you don’t have a garden: no space; no time; no ability; no flexibility to get up and down anymore. Whatever. Even so, you can still produce some produce. Where there’s a will there’s a way.
First, take an inventory of what you DO have. A patio maybe, or a balcony? A porch? Landscape plants around your house? A sunny window? An empty spot at the back of your yard? Unless you are living in a windowless cube there is a space for you to grow something. Maybe not everything you’d like to grow, but something.
Second, think of what you’d like to grow. Make a list. If tomatoes are at the top of that list, then a sunny window won’t work. Tomatoes obviously take more space. But a sunny window works fine for a variety of herbs. You get the idea. I’ve put some pages to help you plan that you can download in the library. You can access them here. The password is create.
Anything can be a container. Really — anything. Traditional pots, cracked dishes, thrift store finds – like an old wheelbarrow or a little red wagon, or even an old boot.
Anything can be a container as long as you provide a way for water to get in and out. Most plants don’t like wet feet and will up and die on you. If there’s no drainage holes put an inch or so of gravel in the bottom of the container.
What if you don’t have a space for a “real” garden but you do have some landscaping around the house. You’re in luck! That’s almost as good as a “real” garden.
Let’s start by listing some plants and their requirements. ALL plants need air, water, food, some degree of sun. Freedom from pests. Just like us. Beyond that there are specific needs that each plant has.
Some plants are cool season plants, some are warm season. Cool season plants like cooler weather and will “bolt” when the weather gets too warm; they send up flower/seed spikes and turn bitter.
Warm season veggies won’t sprout if the ground is too cold, and like me, they shiver and pout if it’s not warm enough for them. If you want happy plants you need to give them what they require.
A note on chemical vs. non-chemical fertilizer and pest control. If you are going to the trouble of growing something that you are ultimately going to put in your body, don’t grow it with chemicals. For instance, Miracle Gro is often advertised as a “miracle” ingredient for healthy big plants. And that is true. You WILL get big plants. But it is all synthetic chemicals. I don’t use it because in my opinion it forces a plant, and I want my plants to grow naturally. And I don’t want to eat chemicals. And most of all, it doesn’t help to make healthy soil. Because I also have a “real” garden my first concern is creating healthy soil – which is something of a challenge in the little plot I have for a garden. It is the stoniest ground I’ve ever gardened in. Sometimes I think I’m gardening in a quarry!! That being said, it’s your choice to use organic or non-organic methods to grow your plants. And it’s not either/or, either. When push comes to shove use what you have to in order to save your plants.
I’ve said small, medium and large for space requirements. Small =it can grow crowded in a planter; medium = needs some room to spread
out; large = won’t work in a container but can sprawl in the back corner or grow tall against a fence or wall.
On to the plants:
|Lettuce||Cool||Shade in summer||small||Frilly lettuce makes a lovely edging for a flower bed.|
|Carrots||Cool||Sun/part shade||Small||Deep container; looks like a fern in landscaping|
|Beets||Cool||Sun/part shade||Small||Deep container; biggish leaves; some varieties have red leaves|
|Broccoli||Cool||Sun||Medium||Big container; needs room in landscaping|
|Radishes||Cool||Sun/part shade||Small||Needs a deep container|
|Cucumbers||Warm||Sun||Medium||Good for hanging baskets|
|Peas||Cool||Sun/part shade||Medium||Needs support|
|Spinach||Cool||Sun||Medium||Pick when little for baby leaves – good in flower beds|
|Tomatoes||Warm||Sun||Medium||Some varieties excellent for hanging baskets; indeterminate varieties grow tall; determinate varieties bushier; cherry tomatoes great for hanging baskets|
|Corn||Warm||Sun||Large||Wind pollinated so needs to be planted in groups Not recommended for containers|
|Melons||Warm||Sun||Large||Needs room to sprawl, but small ones can be grown vertically|
|Peppers (hot and sweet)||Warm||Sun||Small to Medium||Some hot peppers are bred for containers; needs large container|
|Eggplant||Warm||Sun||Medium||Beautiful flowers – nice in flower beds|
|Beans||Warm||Sun||Medium||Pole beans grow tall and need support; bush beans possible in container|
|Summer squash (patty pan, zucchini, crookneck, etc.)||Warm||Sun||Large||Size about 4 ft x 4 ft; zucchini can be prickly; all can sprawl|
|Herbs||Warm||Sun||Small||Good for a variety of odd containers and indoors on windowsills|
Some seed companies I like are Pinetree Seeds and Johnny’s Seeds. There are LOTS of seed companies, but I have ordered from these two companies for years and have been very satisfied. Pinetree is aimed at the home gardener, and Johnny’s is aimed at the small commercial grower. I would suggest that you get their catalogs simply for the excellent planting and growing information they contain. And No, I have no affiliation with either company – I just like them.
Also check out the “printables” in my library. Here’s the link again. Remember the password is create.
There’s something so very satisfying in growing something you can eat. Sort of basic; fundamental; heart-filling. I hope you’ll give it a try. And don’t be afraid to experiment!
There’s lots more to be said about gardening, but this will get you started. Thanks for checking out this post, and thanks for reading to the end. I am sure I have the best subscribers – I brag about you to my friends! Thank you again for your loyalty.
Love and blessings,