Most people think about gardening after the farmer’s market opens, and really they just buy some natural soap and realize it’s way too late to grow shit. My lettuce will never be that lush, but this soap is gluten-free.
It’s freezing in most of the country right now, but luckily there is indoor prep so your plants will actually be worth a damn by the time you want to eat them, and your planters will be decorative and ready to implement.
First things first: start your seedlings now. This gives them time to grow into a real garden by summer. If you’re the type that kills a lot of plants, I recommend the “salad bowl” method, where you grow multiple types of lettuce, which will eventually grow in a large container (I went with whiskey barrels). Container gardens work at any altitude, you don’t need much space, and lettuce doesn’t have a lot of demands. You can cut the lettuce leaves and they grow back all summer. Not bad for a few $1 packs of seeds! (Note: if you’re in the Midwest, try tomatoes, potatoes and carrots for other low-maintenance plants)
(Picture is from three months of growth) If I had my life to live over, I would not have grown Swiss chard when we were in Colorado. It gets huge and you can’t possibly eat it fast enough. The spring mix was amazing, considering one container of organic mixed greens is $7 at Whole Foods. Growing your own pays for itself a dozen times over.
Second, pretty up your planters. Nice pots can run you in the $50-$100 range, so I found a way to make mine more appealing without defeating the cost-effectiveness of growing my own food (we bought flowers from a nursery, then saved the free pots. They even gave us extras to start our other seedlings). I took Mod Podge, some Ikea fabric, and a touch of twine and ribbon.
I’m so happy with the way these turned out that I’m hesitant to ever buy fancy pots ever again. I love the canvas-wrapped look, and that I can change them as my tastes change.
The total cost of this project was about $10 (about a yard and a half of fabric, and I always have Mod Podge on hand).
Spring is just around the corner, and these indoor projects can give you hope until it finally arrives. I should also note that you can reuse these pots every year, or keep them indoors during cold months for continuous growth. Show me your pictures on Instagram when you start yours!