Small Space Gardening: Where To Begin?
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Small space gardening is my reality but I have huge garden dreams. I dream of a huge garden with long rows of raised beds. Those raised beds would come to life every Spring with an abundance of lush, green vegetables. I have a grand vision for my dream garden.
Not having that dream garden is not stopping me from growing. Container gardening is a great option for apartment dwellers like us that want to grow their own food but are lacking large spaces to do it. I am going to use my experiences to put together as much information as I can for small space gardening. My warning is that I am not an expert. I have not been doing this for long. My thought is that if sharing my wins and losses helps someone in their journey, I’m all in.
List what you want to grow
Consider what produce that you use the most. Whether for cooking or juicing, growing your most used produce will be convenient and more importantly, it can reduce your grocery bill. Start with a list of everything that you would like. As you move along in the planning process, you can cross off anything that will not be a good fit.
Evaluate your available space
Where will you grow? Raised beds, in-ground or containers?
When space is limited, grow up. Vertical planters are a great way to utilize limited growing space. When choosing to grow in containers, be conscious that some vegetables do better than others in containers and size will matter.
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Research your growing zone and planting dates
Find out what plants will do well in your area by using the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. There are a number of resources that will allow you to input that zone and get an outline of when to get planting. You can skip learning about zones though I think it is helpful. By using The Old Farmer’s Almanac website, you can type in your zip code and it will provide general recommendations on when to start seeds and when to plant outdoors.
Decide on starting seeds or buying plant starts
There are benefits to starting seeds as well as buying plant starts. Plant starts are definitely convenient. You can purchase plant starts at big box stores, nurseries or farmer’s markets are a good place to find them. One of the major benefits of starting from seed is cost. Seeds are usually less expensive to purchase than plant starts because each packet of seeds has the potential to grow many more plants.
Consider using a grow light
Seedlings need a lot of light. Using a grow light will give your seedlings the necessary minimum hours of direct “sun” to get off to a good start. Prices for grow lights range drastically. You can buy lights marketed specifically for growing or you could do what we did. We opted for the more economical choice of purchasing a large LED shop light. What you want to know about using a shop light is that you want a daylight bulb and the higher the kelvin the better. Recommendations that I have found is 2,000 – 3,000 lumen and at least 5,000 kelvin.
Do not let the lack of a dream garden setup stop you from having a garden at all. Small space gardening is possible. Even if you just want to get your feet wet. You can do it. We can do it together!
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container garden, Gardening, Growing, humble home