In today’s hectic lifestyle, a healthy diet is still one of the best ways to combat stress and fatigue-related illnesses. And as our elders used to tell us, the key to achieving a healthy diet is in eating vegetables. However, the fast-paced life in the city can also be the same thing that can impede us from getting the nutrition our bodies need. Organic food stuffs can also command a hefty price at the supermarkets that carry them. Non-organic vegetables may also have been grown using pesticides and it’s very difficult to determine which is not. Sometimes it is just easier, cheaper, and safer to pick up the phone and get food delivery.
But fresh, organic leafy greens can easily be within your reach without running you to the poorhouse. Even if you live in a high-rise condominium unit, you can have an easy no-fuss healthy meal way before the pizza delivery guy reaches your condo lobby.
The way to do it is to have your own vegetable garden. Yes, right in your apartment or condo.
Growing your own vegetable garden does not necessarily mean needing a lot of space for farming your vegetables. You can still have your vegetable garden even if you lack a backyard.
You can grow a variety of vegetables and herbs in pot containers. If you have a little bit more space, you can even grow vine plants like cucumbers. In fact, the only vegetables you won’t be able to grow in containers are tubers. As long as your place gets sunshine, you can be well on your way to having a bountiful vegetable garden with the use of pots or containers.
Three vegetables thrive well in a potted garden: tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers. Of course you can still grow other vegetables such as lettuce, cabbage and even abitswelas or snap beans. Just remember to give your potted veggies the space they need to grow.
Simple Steps to Prep for Your Potted Garden
1. Get down and dirty. Prepare a good soil mix composed of compost, aged manure and peat moss. These organic materials are a great help in growing your vegetables and are easily available in garden shops all over the metro.
2. Try it by size. Get containers or pots with sizes appropriate for the vegetables you plan to grow. Bigger containers can hold more than one plant. Just consider the root growth of the vegetables you want to have at home. Lettuce and abitswelas roots do not need as much space as tomato or cucumber roots.
If you plan to have several plants in one container, bear in mind that lettuce needs 6 inches of space between them and tomatoes, peppers and broccoli require at least 12 to 18 inches of space between plants. It’s important to give the roots the space they need because plants whose roots outgrow their containers most likely will end up too dry.
It’s important that your vegetables have room to grow and develop. The rule of thumb when it conies to pot size is, the bigger the better. Larger containers are therefore advisable.
3. Be practical. Choose plant pots and containers that are not only inexpensive, but will also serve you and your garden for long term. You can use wood, concrete, clay or plastic containers. If you decide to get wood plant containers, make sure to get your garden supply shop’s recommendations about the particular container’s ability to resist rot.
4. Hole it up. Punch in holes at the bottom or the lower sides of your container or choose a pot with enough drainage holes so that water does not collect at the bottom. Proper drainage is essential in growing your vegetables because it ensures that the roots get as much nutrients from the soil as they can and nitrogen build up is ensured. Also, when there is not enough drainage, too much water can lead to root rot.
The Bare Necessities
Sunlight. Your home grown vegetables will need at least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight each day. The great thing about having potted vegetables is that they are portable. You are able to move them around or rotate the pot so every part of the plant gets sufficient sunlight.
Water. Water your pot garden as frequently as needed. The roots will be confined, so the soil is more prone to drying out. You can also mulch the top of containers to prevent evaporation.
If there is sufficient space in your home, you can opt for small individual pots for your vegetable plants. However, if space is an issue, you can use bigger containers to grow several plants to maximize space.
author: Carmela Abaygar, Marid Digest, photo from freedigitalphotos.net