Scroll down for gardening tips and links to resources if you’re in a hurry. I won’t be offended! 🙂
Every since I was around 12 years old and had a small plot in a church community garden, I have longed for a vegetable garden of my own. It took 18 years to finally happen, but I think it was worth the wait. The amount of information and resources available online today made being gardener for the first time a really fun experience. Before I had to go search for books at the library to try and determine what seeds to buy and how to plant them. I’m a little nerdy, so I would definitely do that still if I couldn’t find what I needed online.
Being an anxious person means finding activities that give me the opportunity to be creative in a safe space. Getting my hands dirty has never been something I’ve shied away from doing. I spent years doing ceramics and found the feeling of dirt on my skin comforting. It’s probably weird, but whatever. I’m 30, I can be weird. I also don’t need to impress anyone with my knowledge on how to grow the perfect tomato, or till organic soil to just the right ph. So here’s my down to earth tips on growing an above ground garden for yourself.
1. It will cost more than you expect.
2. Do not, I repeat, do not purchase plants, seeds, soil etc from a chain store like Lowe’s, or Home Depot, unless you honest to god have no other choice. Search your area for a well reviewed local garden/nursery/co-op/farmer’s market, anywhere that will likely have plants and garden needs for sale and that is their main source of income. We spent way too much money on plants at Lowe’s to find a local plant and feed place that sold them for about $1.20 a piece! Though Lowe’s and store like them do occasionally put their soil on sale. But, still look around.
3. Buy plants and seeds of things that you like. We bought lots of herbs because we love to cook. We have five basil plants because we can, and buying plants even if it dies before we use them all up is still cheaper than buying prepackaged herbs in the store. Buy plants that make you happy.
4. Mix it up. Buy decent affordable organic soil, and peat, and rake up grass clippings from your yard to blend into your own garden beds. Or make your own soil there are lots of recipes online.
5. Don’t waste money or time on those bio domes, planter things that are supposed to make it easier to grow. Unless you are very serious and have a plant warming mat and lots of space in your home, it’s not worth it. We tried growing in a bio dome and just throwing the seeds out on the soil and watering them, guess what produced the most healthy plants? (hint: not the dome thingy)
6. You can grow a ton of veggies from other veggies! Which is really f*ckin cool! I mean seriously it’s magic. We cut up old sprouting potatoes, put them in the ground, and grew three large potatoes plants that gave us handfuls of new potatoes. You can do this with lettuce, ginger, garlic, green onions, etc.
7. If the critters decide that your bean plants, or tomatoes, or whatever delectable plant you’ve sweated in the heat to grow, are their favorite late night snack, just grow them in buckets on your porch. We bought 5 gallon buckets from wal-mart for about $3. Add soil, plant seeds, water and you have plant babies that are safe from those pesky furry creatures.
8. There aren’t really any rules on how you build your garden beds. You can buy pre-packaged/pre-made raised bed frame kits from a variety of places. You can build them yourself from wood, concrete blocks, or even just mounds of dirt. Though I would not recommend treated wood or old tires because they could possibly leach chemicals into your soil.
Check out these links to make your garden a success:
Growing veggies from scraps: