By Mindy McIntosh-Shetter
I was standing in the grocery store the other day and heard a woman talking about produce prices.
Her friend suggested that she grow some of her own but to my dismay she said she could not.
This answer was not based on skill but the fact that she had no land.
This lack of what she viewed as gardening space is what prevented her from growing her own. As you can imagine, I had to respond and in doing so told her that there were several ways she could garden.
Since we were standing in line to pay, I only suggested the top 3 ways one could garden without land. If you are one of those who have no land to garden and would like to grow some of your own food, then explore these 3 garden alternatives.
1 Garden in a Soil Bag
Gardening in a bag of soil is a great technique for the gardener who is a little on the lazy side. This technique is great for tomatoes, peppers, lettuces, and squash, just to name a few.
Planting in a bag of soil is simple and only requires the bag of soil, plants or seeds, and a flat, which is optional. To begin this process, one must first decide where to place the bag. If you decide to place it in an area where you may need to move it, then place the bag in a flat. This will add support to the bag and make moving easier.
Next, you will need to poke a few holes in what will be the back or bottom of the bag. This simple step will create a drainage system for the bag. Once that is done, flip the bag over so that the drainage holes are on the bottom. After that is done, cut an “X” in the bag where you want to place a plant. Dig the hole and plant the plant as usual. Once the plant has been planted, add a slow-release fertilizer and close the “X.” Continue planting until all the plants have been placed in the bag. After that is done, water the plants in until water comes out the drainage holes.
A helpful hint when using this technique is to use determinate or bush variety of plants, if possible. These will not require trellising.
2 Garden in a Container
Gardening in a container is very easy and flexible. This container can be placed inside or out and can consist of anything. This includes cardboard boxes, traditional planters, and food-grade plastic buckets.
The trick to using this technique is to make sure there is drainage. If the container has holes in the bottom, you are pretty much set. On the other hand, if the container does not have drainage holes then create them yourself or make an artificial drainage system. This is done by lining the bottom with rocks, which acts as a water reservoir. This prevents the roots of the plants from rotting.
To create a container garden, one simply places drainage material in the bottom of a container and then fills it with a good all-purpose potting soil. Plant as usual.
A helpful hint when using this technique is two-fold. If you are going to grow edibles makes sure to use containers that are food safe, such as food safe plastic or ones that are not painted on the inside. Second, container gardens dry out fast. If you are a forgetful gardener, consider adding a hydrogel to the soil before planting. This simple substance will help retain water and make it available to the plants when they need it.
3 Garden in the Vertical Realm
Gardening in the vertical realm simply means growing up. This space many times is underutilized but can easily be filled with edibles. Planting in the vertical realm is the same as planting in a container. The only difference is the container.
Hanging baskets, flower pouches, and even a shoe bag will allow you to grow edibles in the vertical space. Just keep in mind; these types of gardens require more water, so place them in an area that is easily reached.
A helpful hint when using this approach is to make sure that the hanger can support the weight of your hanging garden. Many gardeners have been surprised when they go to water and find their hanging garden on the ground.
Today, there is no reason why people should say they cannot garden. It just takes looking around your abode and deciding on which approach works for you and your situation.
So until we blog again, may the sun rise on your garden space and greet you with the sweet taste of the season’s first tomato regardless of your gardening system.