Self Sufficiency - Apartment and Condo Vegetable Gardens
Self Sufficiency - Gardening in Small Spaces
Whether the economy continues to plummet or begins an upwards climb, consider that the experiences we gather through this time are valuable. If, perhaps, the economy should be as strong in the past, once again, should we not be looking at a different way of living, of following a different path. There is that old saying, “Do what you’ve always done and you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Maybe it’s time to turn a corner and change our lives to concentrate on the things that truly make us feel excited about life, instead of all the things we can collect with a high paying job that we hate going to each day. Let’s take the opportunity to, yes, become more self sufficient, but lets help each other get there. Forget the ups and downs of “we have, then we don’t have.” Take the first step by learning how to grow a vegetable garden at your apartment, townhouse or condo.
Perhaps you don’t even have the room for a vegetable garden. Maybe you don’t even have a back yard. The best you can do is an apartment landing or an 8 foot square patio in your condo. Use the space you have to plant vegetables in containers. Start with a commitment to learn about organic gardening. If you are going to grow your own vegetables, make sure they are as chemical free as possible, which means healthier food for you and your family.
You can run down to your local garden center and purchase a slew of garden pots, garden planters or other containers. Or, you can start with collecting them from around your home. You can even make small containers from milk jugs. And, you can start your seeds early in yogurt or cottage cheese containers. Grow potatoes in an old garbage can, just make sure it’s completely scrubbed first. Ask friends for pots and containers. Look for them at garage sales. If you are handy and have a few tools, you can make small raised beds from a bit of lumber. Just make sure you drill holes in the bottom and tack on a couple of small pieces of wood at each bottom end for drainage.
Commercial potting soil is the perfect growing medium for your container garden. This garden soil is disease free and has no stray seeds (weed or other). Your local garden center or nursery will direct you to the best soil for a vegetable garden. Make sure, before adding soil to your containers, that they all have drainage holes at the bottom. Place a thin layer of rocks or gravel at the bottom over the holes. This will keep the soil from washing out.
Choose vegetable garden seeds that are heirloom if you plan on saving seeds for next year. These are seeds that come from nature and are not created by seed breeders. Hybrid (created) seeds offer an array of sizes, shapes, growing time, colors - all the flash. However, for the most part, if you try to save them and grow them again, they either won’t grow at all or you won’t get the quality, appearance or yield as with the original seed. This is just one more step in self sufficiency.
If you live in a long growing season location (warmer climates), you can grow your seeds directly outdoors in their final containers. If you live in a northern state, you can start your seeds indoors and plant them in the outdoor containers after the last frost in your location. Even if you have an apartment with no outdoor area, you can grow a tomato and a pepper plant in a sunny window for an indoor garden. Make sure you open the window to let in some fresh air for the plants, when the weather permits.
Pick your vegetables as they mature, except zucchini (or other summer squash) which should be picked when small and tender. You will be astonished at how long they will last in your refrigerator, three times as long as grocery store vegetables. If you have kids and want them to try new vegetables, your best bet is to let them participate in the seeding, growing and harvesting. Don’t stop there, let them help with the preparation, as well.
Container Vegetables - Part 1
Container Vegetables - Part 2
Container Vegetables - Part 3
Container Vegetables - Part 4
Container Vegetables - Part 5
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