Container gardening (at an apartment)May 3, 2011 at 6:27 am | Posted in Food, garden, totally random | 2 Comments
Tags: container gardening, urban farming apartment
Nothing tastes better than fresh food (as in, I picked that 45 minutes ago and now we are eating it.) Growing your own food isn’t too hard, but I live in an apartment. Our land lady let me plant a raised bed garden behind our apartment a few years ago, but the ground has been sprayed with herbicides for 30+ years, and the veggies were awful. So, I searched the web for tips on container gardening, and put my hodge podge collection of containers to work…
You can use pretty much any container as a planter: I saved empty 2 liters, milk jugs, detergent buckets, kitty litter buckets, and easter buckets for this years garden. You will need to add drainage holes to the bottom of your containers using a drill, dremel, or hammer and nail. I just randomly drilled 7-15 holes around the bottom of my containers, depending on the size. Any plant or seeds that you purchase will list optimal growing conditions, including the mature plant size and ideal spacing, that can be used to determine what size containers you will need.
The beauty of the containers is that the roots won’t grow down into the ground, and I can move them around if they need to get more or less sun. And the containers were free, or very inexpensive. (Seasonal buckets and bowls often go on clearance sale for 75-90% off a week or so after the holidays they were intended for.) If you are more particular about how your garden looks than I am, you can buy inexpensive plastic pots for around $1-2 each.
I used 3 bags of potting soil for my containers – I decided to use a good quality since it was such a small amount, and I would like my garden to do well. You are not supposed to fertilize the containers for a the first few weeks.
This year we have: turnips in a kitty litter bucket, cucumbers is a dish soap bucket, lettuce in a salad spinner, Peruvian peppers in an easter bucket, onions in shoe boxes and a toy lid, green beans in milk jugs, tomatoes in 2 liters, sugar snap peas in easter buckets, more lettuce in a toy bucket, and another pepper, tomato, and some herbs and strawberries in actual pots.
I enjoy having a garden, and this one is very low maintenance: 5 minutes a day to water everything and pull the few weeds as needed. Produce has been so expensive lately, that even if only 1/4 of the food reaches maturity I will have saved money. And J gets to help me, and learn how plants grow, and where food comes from.
I have already been able to use some basil, and the larger tomato plants have flowers so we should be seeing fruit in the next week or so. Since I live in Louisiana we have a long growing season (it doesn’t really get cold until mid November) and all of my seedlings should reach maturity.