We are 21st century citizens and we live in a modern world filled with technology and machines. There are pockets of truly wild and natural areas but most areas have been built on as part of progress and development. While we live in this world filled with machines, factories and technology we are also constantly made aware of our impact on the earth. Words and phrases such as carbon footprint, greenhouse gases, global warming, carbon emissions, energy efficient, recycle and eco-friendly have become included extensively in everyday conversations and most of us know what they are and what they mean. Many of us do what we can to combat and counter the effects of our lifestyles by doing simple everyday things such as reducing our electricity use and recycling. Living in the 21st century comes with a price; the actual cost of maintaining our current standard of living and lifestyles as well as the less obvious cost which is the toll it takes on the earth and on our health. we have become increasingly concerned about what we consume and try our utmost to buy organic food; we understand that a lot of our food is not as natural as it can be.
There are many ways that we can contribute more positively to the earth while at the same time we can also improve our own lifestyles. one of the age old but increasingly popular ways to do this is to start your own garden. that sounds ominous to some but I assure you it is not as difficult as it may seem. I have recently become interested in gardening and it seems quite a lucrative opportunity to begin a new hobby and develop some useful skills; including some fantastic gardening facts. There are numerous reasons to start a garden; when I say garden I mean a small herb or vegetable garden not a full scale farm; such as providing yourself with your own food source while also reducing your expenditure, adding some life to an empty space, developing a new skill and possibly even creating a little business by selling any extra’s that you may accumulate. Whatever your motivation to begin gardening I encourage you to start and to help you here are some tips.
Before you even buy any kits or tools; which you should; first decide where you want to start your garden. If you are only wanting to grow a few small herb plants you might consider your kitchen windowsill but if you have space outside then you should use it. Small herb and vegetable gardens are ideal for people living in the city where there is minimal garden space. Ensure that your garden area has enough sunlight; most plants need about six hours of sunlight a day so measure approximately how much sun your spot will receive. Remember that the suns position changes between seasons, so maybe have a backup spot for different seasons. Now that you have your spot you need to do some shopping for tools. Some basic and essential items you will need are tools; a garden trowel, potting scoop, hand hoe, hand fork and watering can. You can make your own watering can from an old detergent or milk jug by stabbing holes in the lid. you can also make your own shovel/towel by cutting up the jug on the side of the handle so that it has a triangular shape.
You will also need pots for your plants or you can reuse old jars or cans, coffee or paint cans work best in terms of size, as plant holders. One of the most important things you need to get is potting soil; make sure it says potting soil because it is used specially in containers. Now you can decide what you would like to start growing. Doing some research on plants that are best to grow at home is a good idea; ask at hardware stores or gardening stores. Many people recommend beginning with Basil because it is very easy to tell when the plant is undernourished; it has a wilted look. This makes it easy to judge and learn the best way to look after a plant. It is best to but your new plants as seedlings and not seeds, unless you want to start form the very beginning, because it is easier to grow them from a seedling.
A good way of starting off your seedling in a lemon peel; or other citrus peel; or in an eggshell, and you can use the egg carton as holders; because they provide a biodegradable container. You can put the seedling straight into the soil with the peel or shell because they will decompose as well as provide rich nutrients for the soil. This is another great way of reusing and recycling instead of buying and dumping products. Another good source of nutrients are coffee grounds; they enrich the soil and also repel some pests. Plants need nutrient rich soil, lots of sunshine and water, be sure to water plants often but don’t drown them. When deciding on a plant holder make sure that it has good drainage; for example if you use a paint can pierce some hole as the bottom to allow some drainage, also put a coffee filter in to keep the soil from draining too.
So there are some good tips for starting your little garden. You can make it a project for yourself to see how many different types of herbs you can grow.