Starting a garden is a hobby that I discovered recently due to being stuck at home during the lockdown and I fell in love. I had an issue with space since I have a very small yard, as a result, I have never even tried to plant or grow anything before. Through watching lots of Youtube videos, I discovered container gardening and never looked back since.
Container gardening is so easy, less time consuming, exciting for the kids to do, requires less effort, and doesn’t take up much space. I have zero gardening experience so this was a trial and error project for me and I am learning as I go.
Make your own garden compost
I mixed a number of things at first because I was not sure how to go about it but in the end, it worked out perfectly. I used a normal 25-liter plastic bucket and made holes at the bottom using a screwdriver.
In the bucket I mixed:
1. Dug up soil from my yard
2. Dried cow dung chunks
3. Newspaper cut in very small pieces
4. Crushed eggshells
5. Dried leaves
6. Vegetable and fruit scraps
To all this, I then added water which was a bit too much at first. My waste didn’t decompose, instead, my whole yard smelled like something died. I then added more soil and topped up dry leaves and covered it with an old carpet to help block out the smell and unwanted pests. The compost is not supposed to be wet but moist. That was a lesson learned for sure.
Compost also requires sufficient air for it to decompose properly. You need to keep turning the pile often and well using a pitchfork or spade. Your compost is ready when it looks like dark crumbly topsoil, when original organic materials are no longer recognizable, and when it doesn’t smell so bad.
Start your seedlings indoors
I usually start my seeds indoors because I prefer keeping an eye on them before I release them out into the world. I have however had success with planting tomatoes without using the germination process by planting or covering tomato slices in the sand.
The germination process is fairly easy.
1. Tear a paper towel in half and moisten one of the halves.
2. Place a few seeds on half of the paper and fold the other half over the seeds.
3. Place the moist paper towel with seeds inside a glass jar and seal.
4. Keep the jar in a warm place, away from sunlight. I keep it on top of my refrigerator for 7 to 10 days or until seeds start to sprout.
Plant your seedlings in the soil
Once the seeds have sprouted, I then plant them in soil but still keeping them indoors in partial sunlight. I usually use egg cartons because it makes for easy easy insertion into the garden containers without damaging roots. When I don’t have egg cartons, I use any small container or paper cups. I keep the sprouted seeds indoors until they shoot up into little plants with their second or third set of serrated leaves.
Transplant the baby plants in to containers
Prepare your chosen container – Cut a 2-litre milk or soda bottle in half or just the bottleneck to have a longer container. Make wholes on the container for ventilation so that the roots will get oxygen and won’t drown when you water them.
Add your compost mix – Some prefer buying the soil like f coarse–fibered peat moss, I just use the already prepared compost mixed with soil and it works just fine.
Plant – Loosen up the plant by gently squeezing the sides of the plastic cup. Gently remove the plant and loosen up the roots at the bottom. Make a hole at the center of the container and gently place your plant and cover the sides with the soil making sure all roots are covered. Finish by lightly watering your plant.
My advice is that you keep your plants in partial shade for at least a week just to give them a chance to adjust to the new environment. Then you can move them to full sun depending on the season you are planting. Make sure to not overwater your plants either.