Friday, December 7, 2012
One of the great things I have found to serve as distraction/hobby is growing
my own garden. Not a small feat for someone with Zero experience in
such an endeavor nor a smidge of patience. But it did, excuse the pun, grow
Gardening has been a multi-purpose delight, offering me a distraction from
my troubles as it keeps my mind engaged and let's time wile away....as well
as providing a tremendous therapeutic release. It's also heartening to see the
fruits of your efforts appear and be of use...once again making me feel productive
and capable. And finally, it's a tremendously beneficial cost-saving measure...
and insurance that your diet will consist of fresh and healthy items!
You can do a makeshift greenhouse out of pretty much any space, or convert
a window-filled room of a house into a greenhouse. If you're especially handy
you can build a small greenhouse from predominantly recycled/reused materials
for next to nothing and in no time. The plastic sheeting would be the most costly
piece. (Free blueprints are available online!)
Here are some of the easy ways to get started, as well as benefits of doing it:
* Fresh fruits and vegetables, fewer trips to store, and without pesticides.
*Economical: Seeds can be purchased at the end of season (summer
especially) from stores like Dollar General for 90% off--anywhere
from .03 to .05 cents total. (A great many of my plants I started from
seeds I saved from product we ate; peppers, scallions, tomatoes, etc.)
* Same for soil and manure, marked down and affordable at end of season
for stores who don't carry year round. You can also find piles of unused dirt
and soil all over; generally folks will let you have it if you ask. See below
for my recipe for soil prep.
* Easy: Not much space required, not a whole lot of time needed. Keep it
small and simple until you get the hang of it. With indoor gardening, you
don't have the animals to contend with, your crop will grow any time, and
the weather is not a concern.
from scrap wood, plastic trays, reused garden trays, tomato boxes from
the store, or whatever else you have on hand or pick up on the road. Soil
can be mixed in used buckets, storage totes missing their lids, etc. Be creative.
* Environmental/Inexpensive: Recycle/refurbish/repurpose ANYthing!
Other pots, trays, buckets, egg cartons for seedlings, plastic bottles to
fill out the bottoms of large planters, newspaper for water absorption,
milk jugs for watering cans, metal cans for small planters, and so on.
You do not have to spend a lot of money to have an effective garden.
* Even the least handy handy-man can put together wooden gardening
trays or basic simple shelves for your plants to be leveled and save
* Anyone can do it. I had no experience, and I just tried some common
sense things, learned by trial and error, consulted a few websites, and
read a few books.
* Reduce household waste; Start a bin for refuse compost. Everything
from coffee grinds to egg shells to ashes from fireplaces can be used
in a garden. I till my compost in directly to the soil I use for new plants,
letting it decompose while the seeds grow. Less bugs and smell this way,
as well as work.
* Therapeutic: Something of your own, a space of your own, relaxing and
a great time-passer with results to show. You're providing your own food,
accomplishing something, saving money, and being productive.
You can even turn a profit if you have a buyer for excess, or barter your
overage with other folks who have things you need.
Here's my recipe for effective and awesome soil mix for new plants:
-30% top soil
-30% manure/Black Cow
-20% regular dirt from the yard, even clay or bad growing dirt
- 5% mulched leaves
- 5% per lite (water retention)
- 5% ashes; fireplace, burn pile, charcoal grill
- 5% compost material (Note; freeze your compost discards all along in a
large Ziploc, then crush it apart and mix it in when making soil mixture in
a large tub. Freezing will keep it from stinking until you have enough.)
My method for prepping a tray/box for seeds/new plants:
1st layer/base: Put some cardboard at the bottom to absorb excess water.
(Use anything such as food boxes or delivery boxes cut down.)
2nd layer; Plastic bottom; can be saved bags that top soil came in, what-
ever works. I use the 'cat litter sifter bags' from the dollar store that fill
the base of the tray and yet have small holes in them for water drainage.
3rd layer; Leaves to provide water-retaining base and extra mulch.
4th layer; crumpled up newspaper
5th layer; Lots of your already mixed batch of soil, patted firm.
Dig a small hole for seeds, place cover dirt lightly over and water.
Good luck, and feel free to ask if you have any questions!
I'll share more tips as I go.