I know you read the title and thought it is nearly freezing outside why would anyone be thinking about gardening but I’m here to tell you I am starting to plan out my garden for this year. Last year was my first year and I had a great yield. I poorly documented it as life got in the way but we saw tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, strawberries, scallions, green beans, and a baby watermelon amongst a few spices grow right on our deck.
As I venture into my second year of container gardening with plans to also build a raised bed, I just want to share a few tips and mistakes that I made along the way that may help you or encourage you to grow a small garden of your own. I really enjoyed my garden, seeing the growth was not only amazing to me but the children were mesmerized.
- Plan Ahead: If you are paying attention you see that stores are starting to introduce gardening materials, pots and seeds. Decide what you want to plant and look out for sales. I purchased many of my organic seeds weeks before I even planted them during BOGO sales at Home Depot. These make a difference when one packet of organic seeds can go for $3
- Go Totally Organic: If you choose to purchase organic seeds I suggest you research the seeds you buy to make sure they don’t contain GMOs. Most of the packets will say no GMOs on it. Also if you are using organic seeds don’t skimp on the soil. Purchase the organic soil as well. ( Last year I used Miracle Gro but after a little research there is a little controversy on whether it is completely organic. If this is important to you do more research)
- Have a Water Source Nearby: If you can help it try to set your garden near a water source. Because they are in pots they need to be watered more frequently which posed a task for me. I only had one watering can and it would take me nearly 5 trips to water everything. This year I plan to buy two large watering cans and also collect rain water to help with the watering issues.
- Start Your Seeds Indoors: If you look on the seed packet there are climate zones. The zone I live in says the last frost occurs in early March. I like to get a jump start by starting my seeds indoors so that by the time the weather breaks they already have roots.
- Use Starter Cups: I used these cups and I loved that I didn’t have to disrupt the roots to replant them. I tore the sides of the pot off and placed the whole thing in the new soil and covered.
- Be Mindful of Where You Want the Pot Before Filling: Those clay pots get really heavy when they are filled with dirt. Consider putting the pot on wheels or fill the bottom with plastic 2 liter bottles before filling with dirt. It will make the pot lighter and save you some soil. I also used plastic packing peanuts.
- Make Proper Labels: Trying to take a short cut I decided to write what I planted on the side of the cardboard container. Well it rained and washed all of the ink off.
Don’t laugh.I had to learn that lesson the hard way. Use popsicle sticks or something that will withstand the elements. Trust me.
These are just a few container gardening tips to get you started if you so desire. I’ll be back in a few weeks with tips on what you should plant together, natural methods of pest control that I used that worked and what you need to plant and harvest in the Spring that won’t be able to withstand the summer heat.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments.
Do you have a green thumb? Ever tried gardening?