We had a trying time last year and this year isn’t too much different. But we all try to get along with life as best we can. Some have taken up hobbies while their stay-at-home. Hobbies such as gardening prove to be a huge stress relief. The pandemic has brought a lot of change. It has increased the interest in gardening.
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history of human nature
Throughout recent history, many have watched and joked about how human nature is to head to the store and grab up all of the milk and bread whenever a winter storm is approaching.
Usually, people feel a sense of urgency whenever they know they may not be able to get to the store for a few days. But when the pandemic of 2020 hit on a global scale, the fear grew into a widespread panic.
Paired with social media, this phenomenon had individuals and families hurrying to the store to not only wipe out the supply of toilet paper and hand sanitizer, but food as well. No one knew what was going to happen to the food supply, and shelves were bare in many areas for weeks.
This is a big reason why interest in gardening spiked so high (and has continued to grow) during the year long pandemic and continued lockdowns in some places. There’s a peace that comes with knowing you’re not dependent on others for your food source.
With grocery shopping in particular, even when supplies were refilled, people felt scared and uncomfortable walking into a store with a frightening virus on the loose, touching produce that others may have touched, and putting them in a cart that was already the subject of many investigations for its filth.
But the biggest concern was not having enough to eat – having enough food to feed your children. What happened during the early days of the pandemic was that even seeds began flying off the shelves.
So you can’t wait until a disaster happens to get yourself ready to grow your own food. Not only that, but growing the food could take 60-90 days or so, and you can’t go without a food supply that long.
You should always have some foods growing that would help your family sustain life in the event of an emergency. You might have a mix of indoor and outdoor gardens, in case of a catastrophe where the outdoor garden was raided or ruined in some manner.
Always make sure you have plenty of seeds , and learn how to continue growing foods from the seeds of the plants that you harvest. No one wants to endure a food shortage, and you can’t rely on the government or anyone else to save you if a crisis happens. Gardening gives you the comfort you need to know you and yours will get through it just fine.
Start Small as a New Gardener
Whenever people think about becoming a gardener, they start watching videos from experts and see huge gardening beds filled with thriving plants and bountiful harvests. But these individuals have been doing this for quite a while, perfecting their green thumb and learning what it takes to succeed.
It would be nice if you could simply listen to some instructions, follow them exactly as prescribed and then be able to proclaim you’re a successful gardener. But unfortunately, there are too many variables in the gardening world for there to be a cookie cutter routine that works for everyone.
You have varying climates from one city to the next. Insects and pests of other sorts aren’t all the same, either. Humidity and rain conditions can affect quality of a harvest. Even the way your soil is compiled will differ from someone one state over.
Because of this, you want to take your time learning the ins and outs of gardening on your plot of land or in your containers before you start investing huge amounts of money, time and effort.
Getting started with gardening can definitely cost more than just buying produce at the store. You need fertilizer, seeds, watering tools, and much more. But once you’re able to use them successfully every season, you will recoup your money.
only manage what you can
The last thing you want to do is plant a half-acre of vegetables if you’ve never grown anything before. You might end up with an entire garden spoiled from poor irrigation or lack of pollination.
It’s best to begin with vegetables that you know you’ll enjoy growing. Then begin with a small amount of plants to nurture to fruition. Start with one or two containers or a small 4×4 plot of a gardening bed outdoors.
You can scale up over time. If you’re capable of handling the routine and working out issues that arise with your plants in a small area, then you’ll easily be able to care for and address any problems with a larger area.
You are the protector !
As a gardener, you’re almost like a parent to these seedlings. You have to take care of all of their needs – nutrients, protection from pests and more. You’ll have a much easier (and enjoyable) time knowing you aren’t overwhelmed with an enormous workload than if you did just enough to enjoy and learn from a smaller area.
This will also help you discover how much produce your family actually needs and uses during a growing season. Many people overestimate and then end up with spoiling produce they can’t use up in time.
Smart Gardening Gadgets That Help You Succeed
If you want your garden to succeed, there are many things you have to do to ensure your plants have the best chance to survive and thrive from seed to harvest. If you were only growing one plant, that might be easier to do, but most people grow multiple vegetables, making it harder to regulate everything.
Luckily, technology has made it easier for those who want to garden, but who may not exactly have the green thumb others were blessed with. You’ll find a myriad of smart gadgets that have you doing the minimal steps needed to grow your own food.
These smart gardens come in many sizes, from the size of a bread box that grows 3 pods of plants to large tower gardens that can be placed somewhere in your home, adding a greenery and decorative effect.
These gadgets have many different features. Some are solely hydroponic, while others have a soil and self-watering mix. Many of them are self-cleaning, ensuring your plants are never in danger of becoming molded and wilted.
These smart gardens have built in LED lighting systems that provide the plants all they need to grow. They sometimes come with a dome that’s placed over the seed pod initially, and removed once the greenhouse effect has helped it to sprout.
As the plant grows, some gadgets, like the Click N Grow gardens, have additional arms that you insert to raise the height of the lamp so the plant can continue growing through to harvest.
The companies who sell these smart gardens have refill pods that you can order, and they carry things like lettuce, tomatoes, strawberries, peppers, peas, herbs and more. You can grow the same plant in one garden or mix it up.
The smart gardening gadgets are not just self-sustained indoor gardens, however. There are also gadgets you can use in other gardens of your choice. There are sensors you can buy that will report back to you about the current stats of your garden, even outdoors.
For example, it might tell you how moist the soil is, how much sunlight the plant is getting, and what the state of your soil is. You’ll know if the plant needs to be fertilized, and it takes all the guesswork out of the equation.
These intelligent sensors can be used indoors and out, on your food gardens or even in gardens you create for decorative purposes. It’s one more step to ensure you’re able to grow the best and most nutritious food for your well-being.
Growing a Food Garden in an Urban Setting
When you live in an urban setting, you might be resigned to the idea that gardening isn’t an option for you. But that’s far from the truth and many gardening strategies cater to those living in the city and in small spaces.
a different set of planning
You just have to plan differently than someone who has an acre of wide open space in the country – or a large suburban backyard to grow food in. Your space is more contained, and may even have limited light, if towering buildings don’t allow for much.
In some instances, the city or building owners will allow limited space to be used for the community to grow food in together. But you might want to grow an urban garden that’s reserved for you and your family.
You might be growing food on your balcony, in your apartment, or on the roof of your building, depending on what’s allowed and what isn’t. You can use gardening strategies that don’t rely on ample plots of soil, such as hydroponic gardening, container gardening, vertical gardening and more.
Vertical gardening makes the most of your growing space because the plants are positioned upwards, rather than horizontally. Hydroponic gardening is when you’re growing food in nutrient-rich water.
When you’re growing a garden in an urban area, consider making the most of your space by planting the most nutritional crops for the space, like microgreens, which can be grown fast and added to salads.
what is easiest to grow in your garden
Some of the easiest crops to grow in containers within a cityscape are things like tomatoes, potatoes, beans and peppers. Some leafy greens like lettuce will do well in pots where you have limited space, too.
Remember that not only can you grow things in containers on the ground, but you can take up all available space to grow your food garden in. Besides vertical containers, you can find hanging pots to grow things in.
These are especially good if you live in a tall apartment building and have a small balcony to work with. Some hanging planters will grow the vegetables upside down, such as certain tomato planters.
You can also grow a garden inside as part of your room décor with the greenery it creates, so look for attractive planters and containers that work well in your space and use those to bring warmth and an inviting nature to the room.
Calculating the Amount of Sun Your Garden Will Get
Whenever you plan your garden, you have to make sure that aside from the space and soil, water and nutrients your plant needs, you also have to take into account how much sunlight it should get.
This should be clearly stated on the seeds that you purchase. For example, if you’re looking to grow tomatoes, it will most likely say that it needs full sun to thrive. That means your plant should get anywhere from 6-8 hours of sunlight per day.
Some vegetables will require less, such as partial or low sunlight. Partial sun would be 4-6 hours per day and lower sun would be 1-4 hours per day. If you’re growing indoors and using your window, you can supplement the sunlight your plant receives by using grow lights inside.
The sunlight corresponds in certain ways to the soil temperatures, too. If you have a relatively shaded area, and the required soil temperature is high, then it may not work well when growing food in that spot.
If you have a lot of shade, then you might consider focusing on root and leaf vegetables, which can get by with less sunlight. Most vegetables will need plenty of sunlight to thrive, including melons, squash and cucumbers.
To estimate how much sun a spot gets in the area where you plan on growing food, you’ll want to track the sunlight to see how much it provides. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
know when the sun is the strongest
It’s going to be strongest between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. Those six hours are crucial to the development of a strong plant. Go outside and mark where the sun is exposing the ground during those hours, and try to plan in that area.
Be sure to watch out for areas that might accidentally get shaded by things like a tool shed or a fence surrounding your yard. You might assume something is in a sunny spot, but when you actually track it, you see that the plant would be suffering from a lack of sunlight in that area.
Of course if you’re using containers outdoors, you can always manually move the pots to correspond with the lighting situation, but this is cumbersome and only recommended for those who want a hands on approach with a lot of involvement.
If you don’t have time to track the sun, there are gadgets like sunlight calculators that you can place in and around your yard that will help you determine how much sunlight a specific spot gets throughout the day.
May your garden flourish with produce or whatever type of gardening you choose. So have fun with your garden. But most of all . . . relax and enjoy life!!