5 Tips For Starting A New Garden

Every year we experiment with a couple of new plants in the garden. We’ve been steadily growing our vegetable gardening skill for a few years now.

This year we’re planning to plant 53 mini plots with 1-2 varieties each of 10 different vegetables. It’s easy to forget that we started with not much more than ta couple of scrawny tomato plants and one overly vigorous zucchini.

If you’re planning start a vegetable or herb garden for the first time this year here are a few tips to increase your chances of success.

1) Scale it back a bit. Pick just one or two vegetables or herbs to start. Get good tending and harvesting each type of plant you raise before expanding your repertoire.

2) Expand it a bit. Raise multiple plants of each type of vegetable or herb. I’m not talking an entire row, just enough for cross pollination and the occasional sacrifice to the black thumb gods.

3) Try starting with containers. Psychologically for some reason containers are less daunting. This is important for later in the summer when the “I’m starting a new project” buzz wears off.

4) Take your containers and place them by your back door. If you have a deck put them on the deck. If all you have are a few steps leading up to your home that’s even better. You want them to be in you site and on your mind as much as possible.

5) Make a daily appointment. Schedule a couple minutes every day, at the same time every day, for harvesting and weeding. Don’t get over zealous. Budget 5 to 20 seconds per plant. The idea is to build a new habit. It’s actually more important to show up regularly than get a ton done in on sitting.

Have fun and happy gardening. Remember slow deliberate steps are the best way to create a new habit. New habits are the secret to getting Closer To Green.

Lettuce From Seed: A Second Try

Last spring we had a little problem with the lettuce seeds that we planted in the garden. By “a little problem” I mean they didn’t grow at all.

It was our first time growing lettuce from seed so we’re not really sure whether it was bad seeds or hungry birds. All we know is the lettuce that we planted by seed completely failed to make an appearance of any kind.

This year we decided to stack the decks by starting them indoors. We’ve never started anything indoors before. We’re on the intermediate side beginner as far as kitchen gardening is concerned. I’m personally feeling kind of badass about taking this step toward being one of those hardcore gardeners that start everything from seed.

The lettuce has sprouted but we’re going to wait until they’ve grown a little bit more before thinning them. That way we can transplant a few of them to a second indoor pot and limit the amount of waste plants.

We may actually end up growing some completely indoors in hopes of extending the season a bit. During the summer we set the thermostat around 78 degrees (Fahrenheit). Lettuce is a cold weather plant so the indoor growing season will only be a little longer than it would be in our sun soaked garden.

It is worth noting that we got this year’s lettuce seeds at no financial cost as part of a Grow-A-Row program. If you haven’t herd of Grow-A-Row the concept is simple:

1) Grow a fruit and/or vegetable garden.

2) Harvest said fruits/vegetables.

3) Donate part your harvest to a local food bank or soup kitchen.

Are you growing a kitchen garden this year? Are you planting anything from seed? Lettuce know! (The pun was right there. I’m not proud.)

Getting Closer To Green

From houses smaller than a one car garage to expensive renovations retrofitting entire home plumbing and electrical systems to granola/hippie/trashy DIY projects sustainable living can sometimes feel, well, unsustainable.

Saving some green can feel the same way, with extreme couponing, disposable discount clothing, and the very same granola/hippie/trashy upcycling projects.

This blog isn’t about “extreme green” living. It’s about creating lasting habits that, step by step, get you closer to your financial and ecological goals.

Remember, it’s not a matter of perfection it’s simply a matter of doing something today to get a little Closer To Green.