Gardening, a Hobby Anyone Can Do

Gardening is a great hobby that can be very rewarding. You do not have to own a yard to be able to garden. I have lived in the country on a farm and I have lived in the city in an apartment. Gardening has always been a part of my life. Living in an apartment does not prevent a person from enjoying the art of gardening nor from enjoying fresh fruits or vegetables that they have grown. A good container vegetable is the cherry tomato and a good container fruit is the strawberry. Both can be grown very easily on a patio in a container, on a front or back step, or in a window sill.

If you would like to grow a garden and are a city dweller in an apartment check to see if there is a community garden you can join in your area. I once belonged to a community garden and it was a very nice experience. If you have a means of transportation there are often landowners in the country who will allow you to plant a garden on their land for a small fee. This is a good way for an apartment dweller to garden especially if you desire a large garden. Plan on visiting your garden at least twice a week to water and weed and tend to the plants. In hot weather you will need to visit it more often to keep it watered. However, some landowners will water it for you. They don’t want a patch of weeds on their ground though so plan on doing a good job at weeding. There are ways to reduce weeds, such as laying out plastic between the rows or other types of ground cover.

If you do not have transportation and would like to just have a few plants to tend to there are many ways to try your hand at having a green thumb. Containers are easy to come by, they can be anything from a wheelbarrow to the bottom half of a milk jug. Choose wisely what you use as a container for you will have to look at it for a long time. So will your neighbors so don’t chose anything offensive. Consider how much space you have. If you have a small patio then something like a few wooden half barrows in the corners will work nicely. If all you have is your front step then you will have to down size to something smaller. If you have many steps than you can have a row of small containers running down the side of the steps. Make sure that the landlord is okay with your having a container garden.

I like to mix flowers and veggies together in my containers. A few pansies or marigolds along side your edibles is very doable. If you have a container that is two feet wide then you can make an outside border along the edge of pansies or alyssum. Then a row of carrots and radishes with a nice tomato plant in the center.

When you are preparing your container make sure that there is a drain hole in the bottom so that your plants won’t stand in pooled water. Place a large plate or something shaped like a plate under your container so that the water won’t run all over causing damage. Put a few smooth rocks in the bottom of your container and then fill it with some good potting soil. Set your starts where you think you would like them to be prior to planting so that you can get an idea of how they will fit. Then plant your starts making sure that you use a sufficient amount of water. If you are planting from seed you will have to place the seeds in the soil at the depth suggested on the package. Water sufficiently to wet the soil. Seeds take anywhere between three weeks and six weeks to germinate depending on what you plant. You will have to keep the soil wet but not soggy during this time period.

If you set your pot in a place where the sun shines on it all day it will bake the plant and dry out your soil too much and you won’t have much success in growing a garden. Choose a location where there is partial shade. Too much shade will affect growth. So look for a balance. Radishes are very easy to grow and are a good beginner vegetable that will thrill children. Spinach is another easy plant to grow.

When a window sill is your only choice for gardening try a herb like parsley. It does well in a window. East or west windows are the best. North and south either have too much sun or too little.

Plants that work well in small containers: endive, chives, green onions, radishes, parsley, spinach, strawberries, etc.

Plants needing larger containers but still good in a pot are: tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, cabbage, green beans, peas, etc.

I have been enjoying the raised bed gardening. Make a frame of wood 4 x 4 feet and 10 inches deep and fill it with soil and plant every square foot something different. Raised beds can be any size you desire and are very enjoyable.

Enjoy having a hobby you can eat and don’t give up if you have a few failed crops. :)