Urban Gardening Simplified: Let’s Start Planting!

Welcome back, fellow Gardeners!

Last month, I began my reoccurring blog on Urban Gardening and specifically How to Begin.

Now that you have gathered your supplies, we can discuss the planting.

Gardening is a great activity for the whole family, even your littlest ones will enjoy it. Depending on your toddler, they may be able to “help” you with their small shovel. You may have to keep an eye on them as dirt, plants, and even rocks can end up in their mouths! 

Preparing your Planters:

Depending on what container you are using for your garden, you may need to take additional steps. For example, for any planter with a drain hole at the bottom, place some rocks at the bottom. This helps keep the holes from getting clogged and also provides drainage. You can also use egg shells, a coffee filter, or pine cones inside of pots to create drainage.

If you are using a planter with a built-in saucer (water dish), then adding rocks may not be necessary as the holes are likely set up.

As for the fabric pots, I did not place any rocks in the bottom as it was not needed. The fabric pots are meant to let moisture out through the bottom and sides.

Lastly, if you are using a container that does not have drainage holes in it already; you may want to drill a few holes in the bottom. This will allow water to drain out (add rocks or other materials to the bottom of the container).

If you choose to not drill holes (or cannot due to the type of material the planter is made out of) then you will need to make sure that planter is not waterlogged (excessive water may delay the growth of plants) from overwatering.

Planting Seeds:

After adding rocks (if applicable), then you can add your dirt into the planter. Fill until there are about 2 inches from the top of your planter. This space is needed for watering (to ensure the water soaks into the dirt). Next, you will need to sow the seeds according to the directions on the package; this will let you know the depth and space needed.

Lastly, cover the seeds (according to directions) with dirt and add water till planter is soaked.

Note: depending on your seeds it may take a week or two before you will see the seedlings pop up from the dirt. Keeping the dirt moist is important and will need to be done often. Since my plants are in a very sunny area, I water them every morning unless it has rained or has been cloudy (which is not often in Los Angeles). Also, most plants need moist soil in order to thrive and grow. Depending on where you live, it will determine how often you will need to water. If all else fails to watch for the plant wilting or the dirt being dry.

Planting Store Bought Plants:

          If you are going to be using store bought plants or seedlings, add dirt after preparing the planter. Fill the planter about half way with dirt to ensure there is plenty of room for the roots of the plant to grow. Next, remove plants from the plastic tray by gently squeezing the bottom. You may need to squeeze and pull gently on the plant to get it out of the container. Once you have removed the plant, massage the roots a bit to loosen them up. Then place in the planter. Repeat if you are planting more than one seedling. Cover roots with dirt until there is a 2-inch space from the top of the dirt to edge of the planter. Lastly, water until the soil is soaked.

Note: Do not fret if for a few days up to a week your plants look a little limp after planting them. Sometimes the plants experience a “shock” from being planted. My mom suggested leaving them in the shade and for a few days, before putting them in full sun (if applicable). This helps the plants adjust.

Adventures in Gardening:

At my house, we have a healthy population of slug and snail which may end up on my veggies. I am not a fan of using pesticides and truthfully most of the time the snails or slugs do not bother me. When I decide to grow lettuce I realized I was going to have to get a little creative and to keep critters (and my dog Ella) from eating the leaves. While researching (aka the many hours I spend on Pinterest) I came across the idea of making a hanging lettuce basket. There are many different styles and I opted for the simplest, which is essentially a hanging pot with lettuce in it!

I was also, gifted a hanging strawberry planter (Thanks, Nancy!) and wanted to give it a try. The process was a bit daunting at first and ended up being pretty easy. I put in the strawberry plants, added dirt, and repeated. I actually did not have enough strawberry plants so I added spinach to the remaining holes.

One thing I had not anticipated was the weight of the strawberry planter especially after watering. It is pushing about 20 or so pounds. My plan original plan to hang it by the lettuce has been put on hold as I am concerned about the weight. I am looking into other options, including Sheppard’s Hook per my mom’s suggestion. I bet, you are thinking, why hang it at all? Well, in addition, to liking lettuce Ella loves strawberries and will eat them from the plant. In fact, I have caught her chewing on plants before I started planting them. 

My other adventures include an avocado I managed to sprout from a seed. I followed the directions on the Avocado Diva’s Blog.

My onion is still growing, which had sprouted in my fruit bowl after forgetting about it. I also managed to get my celery to sprout from an old stock.

What I have gathered from talking to my parents and other fellow gardeners is that growing vegetables and fruits is largely about patience, trial and error, and a little work. Overall, my garden is doing well. I added corn, cucumbers, and sunflowers last week. I had not expected to enjoy gardening as much as I do. I find the time tending and caring for it relaxing.

In next month’s blog, I will focus on how to thin plants, pest control, and weeding. Also, an update on my little urban garden.

Have any tips or tricks in the garden? Post them below!

Happy Earth Day!

Heidi 

This blog contains affiliate links, any purchase made after clicking the links will benefit Beansters Bytes LLC. All products were purchased by Beansters Bytes LLC. All opinions are our own. We are not medical professionals; this blog is for entertainment purposes only.

I am a Nutritionist and Blogger who is not known for her plating of food or photo skills. I love to empower people to live the busy lives they have created, while being healthy, happy, and hopefully at their best every day.
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5 Comments

  1. You’re garden is looking great! My dog loves my strawberry plant too, I totally caught him this weekend with his paws on the side of the planter trying to eat one of them!

  2. Great article Heidi…looks like the plants are doing well…I think I might try a lettuce basket too….I have everything to make it…and we sell red and green lettuce seed balls at the shop….Seed Balz…an oregon company..they have all kinds of flower seeds too!

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