Don’t have a yard, but you have space for a storage tub? Then you can garden!
Using nature indoors as part of your mental health toolkit during the winter months.
I am super duper excited to have met with a Baltimore City teacher who is committed to learning about gardening AND getting his students involved!!! Yesterday I met with Juan Nance and we kick off on 4/23/2016 at the Reservoir Hill Community Garden teaching and learning about gardening. Bytes and Buds will be providing worksheets for the kids to document what they learn and the growing experience. You can follow Bytes And Buds on SnapChat and Periscope to check out the progress.
Juan and I met as volunteers with the No Boundaries Coalition sponsored Fresh Market at the Avenue. The market is the product of a successful pilot program with Gather Baltimore last year to bring fresh produce to the food desert of 21215, 21216 and 21217. The market now brings fresh produce weekly, every Saturday, to residents through a partnership with Whole Foods and local farms. If you are interested in volunteering please fill out the volunteer form.
The weather this year is driving my crazy! At this point I just knew I'd have my seeds in the ground and planning for weekly weeding...NOT! Since I'm getting antsy I decided to start some seeds indoors. This will give me a little head start and also help me with succession planting. Succession planting means planting at different times so that you can harvest throughout the season instead of harvesting once.
So, I grab a paper egg carton that I had on hand and put dirt in it that I brought inside a few weeks ago from my compost pile to warm up.
After I did that, I realized in my haste, there were a few things I should have done before that, but what the heck, I'm already in at this point. I'll make a chronological list for you all at the end to make it easy to follow.
Getting back on track, I put the dirt in the carton and then I realized that I needed a drainage hole. I used my hanger tool (the top part of a broken hanger) to poke a hole in each egg crate.
Once that was done, I took a water bottle and put just enough water to cover the top of each crate and waited for it to seep into the dirt.
On the side of the egg carton I write the date that I plant the seeds.
This helps me to keep track of how long it takes to germinate and grow into a full plant and produce.
I decided to plant a few things. My egg carton had 18 sections, so I decided on 6 different seeds and planted three sets of each. On each row I wrote what I planted so I wouldn't have to guess later.
Next I dropped 1-2 seeds in each crate. Once the seeds were in, I lightly covered them by creating a hole with my hanger "tool" and then softly pushing the dirt over the seed. Since this is in the house and humidity is low, the soil can dry out rather quickly. I went to grab some saran wrap, but since this was an impromptu planting I had none. No worries here since I need to check on the seeds daily for the first week or two to watch for germination.
I moved my completed seed starting egg carton into my dining room which doesn't drop below 65 and gets wonderful light throughout day. Now I wait, watch and pray!
If you'd like to start seeds indoors yourself, here is what you need:
- Egg carton
- Dirt/seed starting mix
- Spray bottle (optional)
What to do:
- Cut the top off the egg carton. You will use it as a water tray
- Make a hole in your egg carton crates. I prefer paper or Styrofoam because it easy to make holes. With paper cartons I make a single hole. When using Styrofoam, I would put 3-5 small holes with sharp pencil or pen.
- Write on the egg carton the date you are planting the seeds and what seeds you are planting. You can also put the seed packet on the edge of tray to identify them.
- Mix your dirt/seed starting mix in the bowl with water in a bowl. It should be moist so it is slightly sticky but still a little crumbly.
- Fill your egg carton with the moistened dirt
- Using the tip of your marker, slightly depress the dirt in each crate about 1/4 of inch deep
- Drop 1-2 seeds in each crate
- Lightly cover seed
- Place egg carton in an area that receives at least 7 hours of direct light
Check your seeds daily. If the soil looks light then it is drying out and you need to water . If you are using a Styrofoam egg carton then you can pour water in the top and water from the bottom. In 25-30 minutes you should see the soil darken up as it absorbs water. If you are using a paper egg carton, then you want to use a spray bottle to water so that you don't disturb the seed and soil from the force of the water. Also make sure to turn the crate daily to ensure even distribution of light.
So you want a garden. You dream of fresh veggies, herbs and flowers, but don't see where you have the space or time (because time is money too!). Everyone can have a garden! You can have a mini garden in the same amount of time the commercials play during your favorite 30 minute TV show. What you need: Containers - These don't have to be fancy. It can be anything from an old office trash can to a storage tub to an empty coffee container. You can go with a big old tub or art deco pots. You decide based on your space and what you want to grow.
Empty rinsed out plastic water/soda bottles - these will be used to cut down on your need for watering
Scissors - to cut the plastic bottles
Hammer and large nail - to create drainage holes in non-traditional containers
Coarse rocks/foam peanuts - to put in containers where you rather not create drainage holes and to save money on the amount of soil used.
Seeds/seedlings - depends on howmuch work you have time for. If your time is extremely limited then seedlings, which are small/baby plants, are the choice for you. If you have a bit of patience and time or maybe your using this as a project with your kids try your hand with seeds. You can obtain seeds and/or seedlings from the Dollar Store, nurseries, local home improvement stores, the grocery store, online and local community organizations.
Soil/compost - if you have access to relatively rock free and loose soil from somewhere free, use that. Community organizations often have giveaways of soil and compost as well. If neither of those options are available pick some soil up from any of the same places you can obtain seeds and seedlings.
Need to print a checklist for these items? View here and print from Google Docs.