There was always a garden growing up.
I grew up with my father maintaining a garden in our backyard each year. We often had tomatoes of all varieties; many different herbs, green beans, and more.
My dad usually picked a new vegetable or herb to experiment with each year. At our house when I was a child (before age 11), we also had blackberry bushes and a cherry tree. I have fond memories of picking berries and of my uncle bringing a bucket truck from work over so that we could pick cherries from the tree. We moved to a new house the fall I was starting 7th grade, and we no longer had a cherry tree or blackberry bush, but my dad quickly started a new garden.
I have wonderful memories of the big garden my aunt and uncle had at their “country house” where my paternal grandma lived. My cousins and I went on adventures on the grounds of that property including the pond where we fished & ice skated, the extensive hiking trails, the long driveway where we rode our bikes, and of course the garden.
Throughout my college years in Ithaca I made weekly trips to the farmers’ market. Between my health & nutrition classes and the very liberal town of Ithaca,NY, I developed a love of healthy, natural food. I loved experimenting with recipes and new foods. I dreamt of one day having my own garden.
Fast forward 5+ years and here I am living in Brooklyn, NY with no outside space. Although I go to the many farmers’ markets here in Brooklyn and Manhattan, I wanted to grow something of my own. I first thought I could do a small herb garden; maybe start with basil.
After doing research online and speaking to one of the farmers at the farmers’ market, I bought 6 seedlings:
- Sweet Basil
- Osmin (purple) Basil
- Spring Mix Lettuce
I knew I needed as much sunlight as possible but with an indoor garden, you have two choices:
1. Partial sunlight on a window sill: You will still see growth and results, but probably only half of what you’d see if your plants had full sun.
2. Artificial lighting: If you have the ability to give your plants real sunlight for part of the day and then transition the plants to an artificial light for a few more hours, you will see a lot more growth.
I chose option 1 for now but may decide to add an artificial light later on. Stay tuned!
Steps to starting your very own indoor garden:
1. Find a window that gets the most amount of light or a balcony/fire escape (you lucky dog, you!).
2. Pick up some seed packets or do what I did and buy seedlings from a local farm or farmers’ market.
3. When the seedlings are about 3-4 inches high, it’s time to re-pot! The farmer I spoke to recommended using 6-8’’ pots. To quote him, “the bigger, the better.” But really, when is that not the case?
a. To re-pot buy some organic potting soil from Home Depot, Lowes, other gardening supply store and some pots. I prefer the clay terra cotta pots but you can use plastic or any other material as long as it has drainage holes on the bottom.
b. Fill the new pots with moist (let me guess, you hate this word?) organic potting soil about 1/3 of the way. You can make this by mixing soil and some water in a large bowl.
c. Shimmy your seedlings and their roots out of the original pots and plop those babies in! It helps to loosen up the roots if they look pretty tangled. I even read some sites that recommended trimming the roots & soil beforehand. If thick roots totally encircle the plant, cut away a 1/2- to 1-inch slice of roots and soil with a sharp knife — not only all around the pot, but also from the bottom
d. Fill the remaining space with more moist soil and water!
4. Give your new plant children plenty of sunlight and water - just enough to maintain damp soil. Be careful not to over water!
All of my plants are now re-potted and crowding the space on my windowsill! Stay tuned for when I prune them. Amidst the repotting, I picked up some spinach seeds and planted those. I'm already seeing a sprout!
Thanks for reading! If you like what you see, please share and/or comment below. :)
P.S. Here is one of the websites I found when I was researching all of this. The pictures helped me a lot! http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/steps-for-foolproof-repotting.html