Tag Archive for container gardening

A Kitchen Garden

One of the main virtues of a kitchen garden is accessibility. It should be easy to grab the items you need from it, to help you prepare your daily meals. Therefore, it should be located as close to your food preparation area as possible.

a kitchen garden_thegardenbuzz

Kitchen gardens are smaller than traditional gardens because they are position close to the house where space is usually limited. This isn’t always the case, of course, but having a culinary garden close enough to offer easy access while you are cooking may limit the amount of space available. Imagine you are preparing dinner when you realize you need a little Rosemary or Basil to make your recipe, just right. Being able to step just outside your kitchen door to get it, is far better than having to trek out to your large vegetable garden, while you have pots cooking on the stove. With a kitchen garden, the easier it is to grab what you need while you are cooking, the better.

A regular vegetable garden is about planning for the future, while a kitchen garden is about enjoying fresh items for your meals, today. The fruits and vegetables you plan to preserve for future use, such as corn, that take up a lot of space, are good choices for a traditional vegetable garden where space is at less of a premium.

Kitchen gardens are normally filled with the items you prepare and eat while fresh. Therefore, containers of fresh herbs, cherry tomato plants, or an assortment of leaf lettuces, all make great additions to a kitchen garden. If you lack the space for a larger traditional garden, a small kitchen garden, even done in containers, can keep you in fresh, delicious produce all season long.

Size and Beauty

 

While a standard vegetable garden is all about utility and production, part of the charm of a kitchen garden comes from its beauty aspect. Due to its closeness to the home, a kitchen garden is harder to tuck out of sight than a larger garden. You can often design them to add a sense of beauty to your home, as well.

In the past I have used beets, radishes, carrots, Basil and Rosemary to form a border around my patio. The greenery and fragrance add a delightful look and aroma to any home.

As you can see, a kitchen garden offers both convenience and beauty in a compact spaces. The best part being, it doesn’t take much to get one started. All you need is a couple of feet of dirt or a few large containers, some fresh herbs starts, a cherry tomato plant and a couple packs of seeds of your favorite radish and lettuce.

4 Methods of Easy Gardening

Our easy gardening methods as compared to the old fashion gardening the way your grandparents did it with a hoe, a shovel and a prayer. Old-fashioned gardening required lots of room, work and attention. Times have changed dramatically with today’s four methods for easy gardening.

  • Lasagna Gardening

In spite of it’s name, lasagna garden has nothing to do with an Italian dinner.  It is a method of easy gardening that turns your kitchen waste, leaves, grass clippings and old newspapers into rich, healthy compost without a lot of work. When the leaves start falling, gather them up and layer them over your Spring garden site. Add vegetable peelings, grass clippings, coffee grounds and a few inches of sawdust and/or newspapers. Cover the bed with cardboard, then a large piece of plastic and watch it as it shrinks down into compost.

The downside is this method of creating a rich compost right on your gardening spot, is it might take more than one season to convert your scraps into compost, which can be a negative point if you are in a hurry.  Adding a few Earthworms will speed up the process.

  • Square Foot Gardening

Easy gardening the Square Foot method, can make a great difference in your gardening activities because it does not require a lot of tools to toil the soil. Because you garden in one square foot at a time, you don’t have as many weed problems and the ground doesn’t get compacted easily. Careful soil mixtures will increase the water-holding abilities of the squares while decreasing the need for additional water. Plant diseases do not spread as easily in square foot gardens, either.

  • No Dig Method

 

4 Easy Gardening Methods

No-dig methods allows nature to carry out your cultivating operations. Placing different organic matters, such as well rotted manure, compost, leaf mold, spent mushroom compost, old straw, etc., directly onto the soil surface as a mulch at least 2–6 inches deep, which is then given to the actions of worms, insects and microbes. Another no-dig method is sheet mulching wherein a garden area is covered with wet newspaper or cardboard, compost and topped off with mulch. No-dig gardens can be grown over a lawn, on concrete or cardboard, if there is no need for a deep root system. The problem will be keeping the snails off your young vegetation.

  • Intensive Or Raised Bed Gardening

This method is a system of raised beds that allows you to concentrate the soil in small areas, generally 4 feet by 8 feet,  creating an environment for growing vegetables. Raised beds warm up more quickly in the spring and by covering them, it will allow you to grow vegetables for a longer time frame, early spring to late fall.

Easy Gardening Tip

Pests are usually fairly crop-specific. They prefer vegetables of one type or family. Mixing families of plants helps to break up large pest-preferred crops and keeps early pest damage within a small area.

As you can see, there are more methods of easy gardening than there is of the traditional hard way. If one of these appeals to you, find out more about it and then “dig in”.

An Easy Guide To Composting

To help you get started in making your own composting material, here are some easy tips.  I hope it helps you in your gardening.

Using kitchen scraps and yard waste is an economical way to make your own composting material. By doing so, you are also keeping your yard, garden and flowers healthy in a natural way.

  • As with most things, it should start with the planning. Think about how much compost you will need and how much raw material you have access to. Knowing this will help in deciding if you want an outdoor bin or an indoor box .
Worms, Your best helper in An Easy Guide To Composting

Earth Worms: The hardest worker your composting bin.

  • A worm box can be of any size as long as it has a lid, water proof sides and bottom and you have a supply of paper of all kinds, [newspaper, computer paper or magazines] and dirt. You can purchase a ready-made worm composting system, or you can make your own by poking holes [at the top for air flow and at the bottom for drainage] in a see through, plastic container then set it on some type of drainage tray. Once you have your worms, a box, paper and dirt, the rest is all up to the worms. Make a layer of dirt about 4 inches deep, introduce your worms, then wet the paper and tare it into 2-3 inch strips and place it in the box. Place the lid on the box and let the boys go to work. Never let your worm bin get below 55 degrees or the process will stop and your worms might die.
  • For those with larger outdoor areas, compost bins can be built outdoors for little money and effort. You can also compost without a bin and simply make a pile in a sheltered corner of your yard.
  • An outdoor bin can be built for little or no money using what you have on hand. Wooden pallets that you can find at any retail store make great composting bins. Most large retail store will give you these for just hauling them away. You will need 4-6 of the pallets to make your bin. They can be wired or nailed together to make a usable open top composting bin.
An Easy Guide To Composting

Wooden Pallet Composting Bin

Except for dairy products, fish and meat, you can put most kitchen scraps into your composting bin, including egg shells, tea leaves, and coffee grounds. Any organic matter from your yard can be added, such as hay, straw, cut grass, leaves, mulch, wood chips, and small pruning from your shrubs. You can also add a layer of shredded newspapers from time to time but without worms, it will take longer to decompose that the household waste.

Chicken droppings can be added to your mixture, chicken manure makes the compost rich and full of nutrients, but do not add waste from other pets, such as dogs or cats.

Turn your compost once a month or so, stirring to aerate it and get the top layer down into the middle. If your composting bin is in a location where rain water can reach it, you should not have a need to water it. If it is not, water it about once a month with a garden hose or better yet, collect rain water and us it, instead.

Advantages To Container Gardening

There are many advantages to container gardening, not only with space allotment but the time it takes to get your garden growing.  It’s wonderful if you have the space in your yard for a large vegetable garden but having the space for a container garden is just as wonderful.

8 Tips for container gardeners

  • Use the right containers for the right plant.  Containers between 15 and 120 quarts are the best ones as you want to have room for your roots to grow and spread.  Smaller pots can be used for herbs but even with them, try not to use anything less than a gallon size.
  • Make sure the pots have good drainage with holes at least  ½ inch across.  You can line the bottom of you container with coffee filters to stop any dirt from escaping.
  • Place the gardening containers on large gravel, blocks or bricks to allow free drainage.
  • While adding soil to your container do not fill it completely, leave about  two-inches between the top of the soil and the top of the container, it allows room for the water to stand and soak into the pot, not rushing out over the top, leaving your plants dry.
  • If you are not using animal manure as a fertilizer, use a diluted liquid fertilizer about three times a week.  Two good ones are: liquid seaweed and liquid fish emulsion.
  • After choosing your plants and getting them into your containers, watering is the best thing you can do for your plants, especially during hot and dry weather.
  • Some of the vegetable plants that can be grown in containers include, Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Eggplant, Garlic, Lettuce, Spinach, Radish, and Onions.
  • Don’t forget to place a few potted flower plants in the mixture of your vegetables as you will want to entice the bees and other flying insects to pollenate your garden.            bumblebee_tm1

Container Gardening For The Senior or Handicap Gardner

Container Gardening for the senior or handicap person has never been easier. If you are a passionate senior or disabled gardener who has limited mobility that prevents you from doing conventional gardening, then container gardening could be for you. Although, with its ease of setting up and little maintenance, anyone can be a container gardener.

Clean paint or pet food containers make great gardening containers

Clean paint or pet food containers make great gardening containers

Many of us live in apartments or smaller homes and do not have the space to plant large gardens. Container gardening allows us to calm that “green thumb gardening bug” we have deep in us, while making it easy for us to maintain and harvest our bounty.

Many a patio, balcony or porch, no matter how small, can be the site for your container garden. Even the smallest of areas can be a good location for a few productive pots. You can design a container garden to suit your space and needs. Having a disability plus being a senior, I try to make gardening as easy as possible for myself.

I collect containers from where ever I can. No friend or neighbor is safe from my inquiring of what they are going to do with that large can, when the coffee is gone. Several containers you can find for free is: pet food containers, old tires, milk crates, sturdy cardboard boxes which I use for planting potatoes. You would be surprised at the amount of potatoes you can grow in 3 or 4 12’x24’ boxes. When it’s time to harvest, you just cut down the side and let the potatoes fall out.

You can make your garden portable by placing your containers in an old wagon or cart. If you do not get enough sun for your tomatoes on one side of your patio, you can roll it to the other side when the sun moves.

Being able to place your containers off the ground makes this form of gardening ideal for the seniors or people in wheelchairs. There will be little bending or using heavy garden tools. This is one of the most positive benefits of growing plants in containers and shows you just how versatile, container gardening can be.

 

Your Own Little Garden, Using Vertical Gardening

Have you ever dreamed of having your own little garden but think you do not have the space or time?  Vertical Gardening could be your answer, even if you live in an apartment or only have a few square feet of space on a patio or balcony. Yes, vertical gardening is just the thing for smaller locations.

Vertical vegetable gardening allows you to use the smallest places to produce pounds of fresh produce, season after season.

Here are some tips to get you started.
[1] You need to decide what veggies you would love to grow on your own as opposed to buying. Then you must do a little research to see if those items are a right fit for your climate and soil.

[2] Vertical vegetable gardening is not difficult as long as you have built up the necessary back knowledge. For example, in most cases, if you live up north in Montana or Alaska, growing watermelons may not be an option unless you have a greenhouse with heat.
Think more alone the lines of herbs,  climbing cucumbers or green beans. Bush plants work well for vertical gardening, also

Using a shoe storage bag is an excellent way to grow vertically.

Using a shoe storage bag is an excellent way to grow vertically.

[3] Gather as much information as you can and that includes the type of tools you will need. For most of your needs with containers and vertical gardening you will only need hand tools.

Gardening is a game of patience, for the most part.  If you remain calm and are patient you will soon be amazed at your results in your vertical garden.