As I’ve probably mentioned before, the most effective way to be thrifty is to be self-sustaining. There’s not much more to it — the more that you provide yourself and your family with your own resources, the richer you will be!
And I don’t just mean monetary richness; I mean rich with knowledge and self-sufficiency. One way we can do this is to provide our own produce! Doing this all year long, however, is almost impossible due to our many seasons here in Canada; that is why Spring is the perfect time for you to roll up your sleeves and dig your hands in the soil!
I have decided to make this post for people in every living situation. I realize that not everyone has a 4′ x 10′ plot for growing vegetables, and that a lot of our readers live in apartments. Worry no more! I’ve got you covered as well 🙂
For the Apartment Greenthumb
Given the appropriate space, sunlight and care, you can grow just about any herb or small vegetable/fruit plant indoors. Better yet, if you have a balcony, your plants can enjoy the outdoors from many levels up!
- Gardentherapy.com gives many tips and tricks for gardening indoors; I highly recommend reading their how-to’s! Click the link to find out how to grows sprouts!
- Empressofdirt.net shows you how to grow leafy greens indoors for the freshest lettuce right from your kitchen.
- Colostat.edu expresses the simplicity of growing tomatoes indoors, all year round!
- Purchase quality soil and mix with organic compost. You can buy both of these in the gardening section of your local store; follow the directions on the compost bag for proper mixing ratios!
- Use old mason jars, bottles or pots to grow your own plants from seedlings. Or you can “sow” (sowing is the term for allowing a seedling to grow into a small plant) in a smaller container then transplant them to your jars!
- Tend to your seedlings daily, making sure they are moist enough and get enough sun.
- Most seedlings require the “greenhouse effect” to grow optimally. Plastic wrap does an amazing job at keeping in moisture drawn from the soil by the sun:
- Once your seedlings have grown, you no longer need the greenhouse. Follow the directions on the seed packet so you know when it is safe to relocate the small plants.
- You can also grow lemon trees indoors. I am definitely trying that this year. Who doesn’t love fresh lemonade?! Thank you Martha Stewart! (click pictures for link)
- And how neat are these indoor designs? (click pictures for link)
For the Outdoor Greenthumb
Now here’s where things get messy and dirty (but so much fun.) There are a few extra steps in preparing a garden plot, but it is definitely worth it!
- Dig your plot. I have done a 4′ x 10′ plot in my tiny backyard. Make sure you get full-sun and half-sun areas in the plot because certain plants won’t grow without full-sun or half-sun.
- If you already have a plot from previous years, make sure that you turn the soil to mix up the nutrients in the soil. Reusing a garden plot is good for the soil and your plants!
- Depending on where you live, you may have to purchase quite a bit of soil. My backyard is sand and clay, which is awful for growing just about anything. The soil should be rich, dark and hold moisture very well!
- Compost Tea – This year I am using compost tea on my garden. I began my compost storage last year so everything is ready for this Spring. If you don’t have compost, you can purchase bagged compost and mix it with your soil. Compost tea basically extends the efficiency of your compost by “stewing” the compost in water making it go further. For more on compost tea, click here!
- Just like the indoor greenthumb section, you will also be sowing your seeds indoors. This yields a faster crop because you have started the seeds early. Do this with tomatoes or other vine plants. I found that leafy greens do not need to be sown indoors because they grow very quickly and yield produce very quickly.
- I bought this greenhouse seed starter at Home Depot for $20.