Category: Organic Living

Don’t Have a Garden? You Can Still Garden!

Anyone can garden! That may sound like a crazy thing to say when so many of us live in accommodation that doesn’t even have access to a garden, but there are still options available to anyone who wishes to plant a few things, watch them grow and harvest them when the need arises.

It does not depend on having a patch of land attached to your home, no matter what the size of accommodation you live in. You can still garden as long as you have the meteorological conditions in which to do it. And for most of us, if not all, that is the case – even if we live in a third floor apartment.

Have you got a window?

Yes? There you go, that and a garden hose are just about all you need in order to start. You will need to add a window box, but they are far from expensive and you can even make one yourself with some wood, some soil and a few rudimentary tools.

Then you just need some seeds or seedlings, and you’re away. Natural light is not a problem, so all you need to do is water your plants regularly and make sure the soil has all the nutrients it needs. If that is not naturally the case – and good soil is usually available cheaply from any good garden centre – then you can buy plant food to give it that extra boost. No problem.

If you want to take things further, there are many areas of land given over to allotments. An allotment is a small spot of land that can be used to cultivate plants. As long as you are not using them for the growing of anything illegal, you are generally free to use them for any purpose that you see fit.

They are generally quite affordable, and they allow more freedom and space than a window box or something similar. They allow you to learn the principles of gardening without having to move heaven and earth, and they are also a relaxing haven away from the cut and thrust of everyday life. See? Anyone can garden.

The Greenhouse Effect

Part of the problem with gardening in the western world is that our climate is often very changeable and it can be hard to second guess the conditions from week to week. Think of the hardy crops that are often destroyed by inclement weather or a lack of rain in any given year.

Then think of how much less “hardy” a garden variety plant will be. It is not difficult to see why you will face problems if the weather for the months when your preferred plants should be growing turns out not to be what you were expecting. It’s disappointing when it happens, but there is no doubting that it does happen.

One solution that is certain to work is a greenhouse. OK, greenhouses are not cheap. So they are pretty much out of the question if you do not feel that you have the money to spend on getting perfect conditions for your gardening. But they are also not hideously expensive, particularly as there are so many different sizes of greenhouse.

Don’t Forget to Water Your Garden!

One of the biggest things to do that a lot of people often ignore is watering your plants. Get a nice garden hose and water them twice a day, depending on the amount of sunlight.

It’s usually a good idea to have your water faucet nearby to your plants, so that you can save money on your garden hose length. If your garden is 100 meters away from a water faucet, then you’re going to need a lot of hose.

My personal favorite style of garden hose is the expandable hose, which is less expensive than most of the traditional garden hoses. This style of hose is becomming more and more popular these days because they weigh less and cost less. You can easily carry them around, unlike the 50 lb rubber garden hoses.

Are you a gardening fanatic with money to spend?

Go for a big greenhouse and fill it with all sorts of different things? Do you specialise in a few things which are dependent on the correct elements?

A smaller greenhouse will suffice perfectly. It won’t cost the earth, and it makes gardening a heck of a lot less hassle.

The Greenhouse Advantage

The advantage that a greenhouse has is that inside one, you control the elements. If you need it to be a certain temperature, then you set it to that temperature. If you need a certain amount of light, you can hook up artificial lights.

Although they may not be the perfect substitute for direct sunlight, they are a whole lot better than no light at all. If you have a variety of plants which all need different levels of light and heat, then you can partition areas off for each separate section of your gardening repertoire.

The great thing about having a greenhouse is that they give you an element of control that you cannot have over the outdoor climate, unless you are Mother Nature.

And if you are, you don’t need this advice anyway.

What is Composting? How to Composte.

Composting is the natural decomposition of weeds, manure and other yard waste, fruit and vegetables. The breakdown of these organic materials produces compost which can be made into fertilizer to enrich soil. By composting we do not only help conserve our environment by reducing the amount of garbage sent to landfills, we also help promote healthier soil where we can grow healthy flowers or fruit and vegetables like tomatoes, carrots and herbs.

There are many ways to compost. Some make bins from recycled materials or buy one at the store. Others go binless, by digging a hole directly on the ground. But there are some basic composting dos and don’ts.

Compost is full of microbes or those tiny little things like fungi and bacteria that eat the compost materials and break them down. And since microbes are living organisms, they need air to breath. Unaired compost heaps smell like rotting garbage, this is due to slow decomposition. So make sure that your compost heap has a lot of air passage ways.

Compost also need water. Your compost heap should be moist in order to let your microbes spread faster. Ideally, a compost heap should be as moist as a “wrung sponge”. Too dry and your compost heap decomposes slowly, again leading to the garbage smell.

Your microbes also need to eat. So make sure they have a supply of “browns” and “greens”. Browns are fallen leaves, straw, wood chips and the like. Greens are vegetable scraps, kitchen fruit, green leaves, ground coffee beans and tea bags. Make sure to moisten the browns before putting them in the heap. A balance between browns and greens is essential to make your compost moist.

Of course there are stuff that should not go to the compost bin. Chemically treated wood contain arsenic which is bad for the environment should be excluded. Human and pet wastes contain diseases which can infect humans.

These wastes can be composted but it is not safe for backyards. Stubborn weeds like Morning Glory, Ivy and bindweed can resprout from their shoots or stems and might grow on compost heaps. Meat, bones and other fatty food wastes attract pests like rats and should be disposed in a different manner.

Composting takes around 3-4 months. There are other ways to speed up the composting process like adding worms and fungus like Tricho which can shorten the composting period to 3-4 weeks. Finished compost smells like soil and is brown, moist and crumbly. You can add it to your garden soil, lawn or potted plants.