Saturday, May 15, 2010

Self-reliance: Grow a Garden

If you want to grow a garden to ease the squeeze on your food budget, become more self-reliant, learn a new skill, enjoy being outside more, or you just miss the taste of homegrown vegetables, it can be done even if space is tight.

Grow a garden in a bag!
Sarah Kinghorn inspired me with her plant-in-a-bag idea. So I went hunting for more instructions...
How to grow vegetables anywhere. So if you want to grow some food, but don't think you can because your yard is shaded, the soil is of questionable quality or is paved over, or you don’t even have a yard, chances are there’s still a way to do it.

Plant up a growing bag. Despite only measuring 13in x 37in, growing bags have enough space for three vegetable plants that will provide you with enough food for several meals over the summer. Plant two to three plants in each bag during spring.

Potatoes in a bag. Fresh potatoes have a flavour all of their own. But how do you grow potatoes if you only have a tiny garden, and how to get them started before the frosts have passed? Grow your potatoes in a bag.

How to grow vegetables in a bag of soil. One of the easiest ways to grow food in a small space is by planting directly into a bag of potting soil. The bags help to prevent water evaporation so you don't need to water your plants as often. The plastic prevents weeds from sprouting in the rest of the soil, so all the nutrients go toward your food crops. Let your children try this project along with you, and they will have a successful first gardening experience.
Here's my efforts. Pear tomatoes, Romas, 2 Better Boy tomatoes, a bag for summer squash and one for cucumbers. I think I'll try the potatoes this year too. We'll see how it all works out. Next year, if this spot gets enough sun, I'll make it a permanent raised garden and mix this soil in.

Make a raised garden bed
I have a tiny backyard, but bit by bit I'm carving out a few spots for a plot. I built this raised bed last year and am working to add more garden space. Here are the plans I used if you want to give it a try. The guy at Lowe's cut the wood for me and I used the drill to screw it all together (with a little help from Wade because it needed muscles at one point.) After several trips I had all the soil and peat moss I needed. You can see more photos on my Facebook profile. It was very satisfying and I learned a lot.

Garden in containers
The thing to do is just start. A nice little herb garden in a pot is easy and satisfying.

Container sizes for each vegy. From the Family Home Evening manual. You can plant in almost any kind of container. Try using plastic jugs, garbage cans, milk cartons, cans, plastic bags, baskets, a wagon bed, kitchen canisters, or clay pots. The bottom of the container should have several small drain holes and be lined with 2 to 3 inches of small gravel before you put in the topsoil. Hang containers from windows, put them on windowsills or in window wells; line your sidewalk or driveway with them, or hang them from your ceiling.

Ideas and inspiration photos
Video: How to Container Garden

If you are doing a garden this year...large or small...please take pictures and I'll post them to the blog.


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