Room to Grow
By Katie Aimo, Swedeís Feeds
June brings longer days and warmer temperatures. That means itís the perfect time to plant your veggies and get inspired. But what if you donít have space to dedicate to a garden bed? Donít let limited space compromise your desire to grow edibles! If you have the right amount of light, a good organic potting soil and the right pot, you can start growing your own green thumb this spring.
Low maintenance indoor plantsInviting a plant indoors is a beneficial addition to your home. Most require bright indirect light, and they all bring joy. We know plants provide oxygen, and some can purify the air by removing toxins, such as formaldehyde, leeched out by paints or cleaning agents. Some decorative indoor plants that are easy to care for are ferns, crotons, dracaena, areca palm, peace lily, spider plants, pothos, and ivy. The number one thing that endangers your plant is overwatering. Resist the urge to inundate your plant with aqueous love! Most prefer to let the top inch of soil dry out before watering again.
Got a spot for a pot?Herbs like basil, chives and mints can be grown in bright windows. Herbs are aromatic, with culinary and medicinal uses. Brighten up a salad, make fresh tea, or simply enjoy their fragrance. They are easy to grow and do well in containers. Grown at home, it really is a convenience to have culinary herbs at hand. Basil, chives, cilantro, dill, garlic, lemon verbena, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, tarragon and thyme all do well in small spaces. Provide good drainage, partial sun and water, and your fragrant friends will thrive. Pair with edible flowers like violets, pansies, nasturtiums and violas for a colorful contrast. Hanging baskets or pocket planters (also known as strawberry pots) make excellent containers.
Vegetables can produce bountiful harvests in pots. Just like they feed you, make sure to feed them well when in a confined space. Lettuces, Swiss chard, spinach, radish, green onions and strawberries are compact edibles that donít need much space. Tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, cucumbers, eggplant and squash have been grown in pots as small as a five gallon bucket, but if you can afford to give them more room, this will only benefit the plant. For one thing, you wonít have to water quite as much. You are also allowing more access to soil, thus more room for root growth and nutrient absorption. Quick harvest vegetables make container gardening even more rewarding. Consider planting arugula, spinach, lettuce, radishes, kale, beets, green onions, peas, and chard to harvest within two months. Thereís nothing like making a salad without having to make a trip to the store.
This time of year you can start direct sowing your seeds, but grabbing some healthy veggie starts from the nursery is a great way to get a jumpstart on growing your food. When transplanting your starts, itís important to use something to help prevent transplant shock, such as EB Stone Organics Sure Start, an organic fertilizer that will not burn your babyís roots and feeds them for up to eight weeks. After about four weeks, itís good to fertilize with an organic all-purpose vegetable fertilizer every two weeks or so to maintain strong and healthy growth. Consistent fertilizing is so important for vegetables in containers, as they are limited in space and need more nutrients more often as they grow bigger and set fruit. Organic and natural fertilizers improve the structure of the soil. They work more slowly than synthetic fertilizers, but are longer lasting. They are made of different organic components that break down at different rates naturally, feeding the microbes in your soil and improving the soilís living bio-dome. Overall, your veggies become healthier and will taste much better compared to a synthetic fertilizer.
Whether growing your own food or enjoying a peace lily in the living room, gardening is a perfect pastime. Itís therapeutic, is proven to reduce stress, improves mood and is a great way to connect to your roots. The sun is a crucial element to our every day lives Ė it grows our tomatoes, keeps the bees buzzing for that sweet nectar and warms our hearts. Get out and enjoy it!
ďFlowers always make people better, happier and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.Ē Ė Luther Burbank