My family and I recently moved into a townhouse that has a tiny patio and not to mention NO yard! We loved the home so much that we decided to sacrifice on the yard. But this was kind of a problem for us since we LOVE growing our own veggies. So what’s a DIY veggie grower suppose to do?!? The answer to this question would be to make every square inch count. In this little tutorial I will teach you everything you need to know to do the same thing so that you can have home grown organic veggies for yourself and family to enjoy.
You first want to look at your space..even the smallest places can fit some veggies, which is better than nothing. Keep tabs on how much sunlight your space is getting throughout different times of the day. It is very important that your little veggies get plently of sunlight, as most vegetables require full sun. The unfortunate part is that if there isn’t alot of sun exposure in your little space, you may have to put off growing your own veggies. If there is atleast 4-5 hours of sunlight per day in your space…guess what!? Lucky you…that’s plenty!
Onto the next step: You need to make sure you are starting in early spring when there is no more chance for a frost. Starting with seeds is the most cost effective way to have a garden, but you can buy already started veggies from stores with nurseries. You can purchase seeds from most any store now-a-days (i.e. Walmart, Dollar General, Lowe’s etc..). Look for the veggies you are hoping to grow. Basics would include tomatoes, carrots, green beans, potatoes, various types of salad greens and squash. These are all small space appropriate. Along with the seeds you will want to think about what you will start your seedlings in. For the recycling fanatics a great re-useable items would include: Egg cartons (you can use the top and bottom), cut in half soda cans/bottles (even if your not a soda drinker you can find many of these kind of things along roadways or ask friends to keep theirs), used cans from canned food products…pretty much there’s an unlimited list of reuseable things to start your seedlings in. What you will need is your containers (for seedlings), potting soil (you don’t have to spend alot), water and gloves (unless you love getting dirty). Take your containers and fill them almost all the way up (for egg cartons it would be every individual hole), leaving enough for about a 1/2 inch more dirt, that will be added later. In each egg holder add one seed to the top of the dirt, 2 seeds per soda can/bottle, 4-5 per flower pot. After the seeds are where they need to be add the 1/2 inch of dirt on top. You will next need to water these little guys…my favorite watering sytem is a soda/water bottle with tiny holes in the lid or side. If you don’t do this, just please make sure to gently add water. REMEMBER: Seeds are tiny and easy to destroy .
Now to my favorite part, once the seedlings have grown to around a half inch in size you will want to transplant them. This can be a very tedious procedure. Let’s talk for a minute about what kind things you can transplant your tiny babies to: One of my favorite and space efficient containers are halfed wooden barrells. You can fit 2-3 larger plants in them and 5-6 smaller plants. These can be found at salvage yards and can range from very cheap to more expensive. Another of my favs is to post on craigslist asking anyone who has spare large flower pots, that they don’t want anymore, to save them and you will come pick them up. People are always wanting to get rid of spare flower pots or other containers. Another great idea are baskets..yes that right..baskets. Line the inside of them with some type of plastic and these make for an adorable yet space effective way to transplant your veggies. Moving on…once you have your transplant container ready…fill it with potting soil. Leaving about 1-2 inches room for more soil. Using a spoon, scoop out your seedlings making sure to clear the roots. Put them root side down in the soil. Be VERY careful..this is the part that determines the rest of their lifes. Once you have them in the soil add the 1-2 inches of soil on top of that. DO NOT bury the seedlings. Add water and VOILA, they are transplanted! Now place them as you wish in your space, taking into account where the sunlight hits the most. From here on out, water them daily in hot weather and every other day when it is cooler. Make sure that when it rains to not water them any more for that day and until they get larger maybe move them from harsh rain so that they don’t get too much. I wish you ALL the luck with your vegetable growing venture!!