These days, it seems like everyone is jumping into the victory garden trend, enjoying the benefits of a soothing activity in the fresh air while reaping fresh and tasty produce to eat. But even those who don’t have a yard, or just don’t want to get dirt under their nails, can still enjoy the miracle of growing something that’s destined for the dinner table—without even ordering vegetable seeds.
That’s because you can start an indoor garden from your kitchen leftovers. No soil required!
We talked to master gardener Linda Tyson, owner of garden design and maintenance company South Suburban Garden Girl, and Kevin Espiritu, author and the founder of Epic Gardening, to get their tips on growing vegetables without getting down and dirty.
Chives, basil, Greek oregano, lemon thyme, Italian parsley, and lemon balm. It’s the middle of November in zone five Missouri, and five of my six favorite herbs are still thriving in the kitchen garden, despite weeks of heavy frosts and several nights in the 20s. Even some of the heat-loving basil lasted until a week ago, thanks to some old bed sheets and a plastic tarp.
When my publishing network, BlogHer, asked if I was interested in writing an article for their Go Green to Save Money series, I immediately thought of homegrown herbs. They’re easy to grow, cheap to keep, don’t require lots of space or attention, and aren’t usually bothered by diseases and pests. They’re pretty to look at, bursting with flavor, and far fresher than those pricey little packets at the store.
The city and the countryside haven’t always seen eye to eye. In fact, the world’s greatest cities define themselves as everything rural areas can’t – vibrant, dynamic, bursting with energy and forward-thinking. But now, millions of urbanites are reconsidering. Greening the city has become an obsession for planners and apartment dwellers alike. But what does it mean for your life? Let’s take a look.
How cities are launching a green revolution
The last year or two have seen an acceleration in the greening of cities, with authorities, companies and individuals all making their mark.
originally from: Hydroponics for Beginners: Start growing your plants now Which hydroponic system is the most cost-effective? The most cost-effective system for hydroponics, hands down, is the Kratky method. The Kratky system is named after the professor from the University of Hawaii who pioneered it, A. B. Kratky. The Kratky method is incredibly […]
Becky Sell of Sedum Chicks plants cold-hardy succulents in repurposed wood-and-metal containers, hypertufa pots, wreaths and more. She grows the plants, too, where she lives in Turner, Oregon, near the Washington border.
Becky’s compositions can overwinter outdoors in northerly climates (Zones 4 to 8), providing the potting medium drains well. Cold-hardy succulents such as stonecrops and hens-and-chicks will also grow in Zones 8 and 9 if protected from heat in excess of 85 degrees and scorching sun. Some varieties, notably shrub sedums, die to the ground in any locale and come back the following spring.
In her designs, Becky often combines sedums (stonecrops), sempervivums (hens-and-chicks), and Delosperma ice plants. Of a little-known Rosularia species with soft, light green leaves, she says, “When people ask which plant is my favorite, this is definitely on the list.”
There are about 35 species in the genus Rosularia. The sempervivum-like succulents come from Europe, the Himalayas, and northern Africa.
Find more photos of succulents for Northern climates—including many of Becky’s favorites—on my website’s new Cold-Hardy Succulents page. I photographed the designs shown here during the Northwest Flower & Garden Show at the Sedum Chicks booth, which won an award for outstanding visual appeal.
Below: This bright red vertical container was a hit. At right, I darkened the photo to make plant IDs, in white letters, stand out, so you can see them better.
Below: Sempervivum ‘Jade Rose’ repeats the teal blue of a Sedum spathulifolium cultivar.
Below: In a cold-hardy wreath, Becky surrounded a large sempervivum rosette with smaller sedums, Delosperma cooperi (at lower left), and Sedum confusum (lower right).
Below: I’ve ID’d the three sedums in this wreath at right. Becky gives her plants “hair cuts” to keep them compact.
“I like its dark edges,” Becky says of Sempervivum ‘Black’, shown below in dramatic contrast with chartreuse Sedum ‘Lemon Coral’. At lower right is a succulent native to Oregon: Sedum oreganum.
Becky and husband Paul create planters from repurposed wood and metal. The bronzy succulents below are Sedum confusum, which blushes red-orange in a sunny location. When less confused, it’s bright apple green.
For wreaths and vertical gardens, Becky uses sphagnum moss to help hold plants in place. She emphasizes the importance of good drainage, which is true for all succulents, but especially those in rainy climates. Succulents from cold climates tend to have thin or small leaves and want a richer potting soil than thicker-leaved varieties from desert regions. Becky recommends Black Gold’s organic mix.
It’s that time of year again – to get your hands dirty and plant the yummy array of veggies you’ve picked for your garden. Traditionally, we plant our gardens in the ground, but last year my boyfriend and I investigated the topic of hydroponic gardening and were fascinated by the idea! He and I both being handy people plus his science major helped set us up for success with this new endeavor.
Don’t get me wrong, you don’t need to be super handy and/or have a science major to have hydroponic gardening work for you. When doing our research on how to get this project started, we found multiple pre-made kits you can buy online.
There are a couple of things to note if you want to try this project for your garden, which I will explain… roots cannot get direct sunlight indoors, therefore if you have five-gallon buckets laying around that you want to use, be sure the sun cannot penetrate through the plastic. When you hold the bucket up to the sun and can see through the plastic, similar to when you shine a flashlight on your fingertips at night, you need to spray paint them with a of couple coats until the sun can’t get through. Also, when it comes to nutrients and PH levels, be sure to do specific research on what your veggies will want.
NEWARK, NJ — For the past 15 years, Lot 50 on Grafton Avenue in the city’s North Ward has been a wasteland of syringes and garbage, bringing down the community’s morale.
Those days are coming to an end, according to Bilal and Breonna Walker, two educators who are transforming the lot into a community project unlike any other in Newark. Dubbed Jannah on Grafton, what was once a blight on the neighborhood will soon be a community garden providing access to healthy food options, urban gardening advocacy and sustainable education efforts for North Newark residents.
The project came about due to divine inspiration, according to the couple, who are practicing Muslims.
“There’s a saying that loosely goes, ‘If you plant a seed, and it grows and an animal or human benefits or eats from it, then you get that reward.’ That’s something I’ve been reflecting on for a very long time, and I’ve always thought about how I’d like to leave my mark on the world,” Bilal said.
The lot’s vibrant graffiti would always catch the couple’s eye, and so through the city’s Adopt a Lot program, the Walkers began their endeavor to bring grassroots sustainability to an underserved population. Through Jannah on Grafton, they’re setting a goal to provide 20 families locally grown produce and cushion their monthly food income.
The crisp, herby potatoes also taste great on their own, and the Kalamata olive vinaigrette is wonderful on other things too. I love it tossed with cucumbers and tomatoes. To make this a more substantial meal, simply add some leftover grilled chicken or steak.
No arugula? Make it with romaine lettuce instead. My favorite variety of romaine is an easy to grow heirloom called Parris Island Cos, which is crisp, tasty, and amazingly heat tolerant.
Coming up next on In My Kitchen Garden: Can you grow arugula during the summer? Yes!
The results of a multitude of research is now showing what gardeners have intrinsically known for generations –
that gardening is good for your health.
Now more than ever, as our culture becomes more technologically obsessed and increasingly nature deprived, this information is critical to digest and embrace. The reason why? Because our country is in a national health crisis with substantial economic and social implications.
Here are some statistics that bear this out:
The U.S. public spends more than 90% of their time indoors, leading an extremely sedentary, disconnected, unhealthy, and unnatural lifestyle.
The latest statistics show that 33% of U.S. adults are obese, incurring $148 billion in medical costs annually and contributing to 18% of U.S. adult deaths.
Publicly available data shows U.S. healthcare costs are the highest per capita in the world—and that amount continues to increase.
Recent research funded by Disney shows that 65% of U.S. parents see it as a “very serious” problem that their kids are not spending more time outdoors. According to the survey, this is equal or a close second to their concerns about bullying, the quality of education, and obesity. Preschoolers spend about 12 hours a week outside, and by the age of 16, our children are spending less than 7 hours a week in nature.
Ideally, these statistics will put some fire in your belly to spend more time outdoors in nature and gardening. But those of you who may need more hard core facts to help galvanize you to get your hands in the dirt, below are
13 Reasons Why Gardening Is Good For Your Health
1. Gardening can reduce your risk of stroke (along with other activities as jogging and swimming) as reported in “Stroke: Journal of The American Heart Association”.
2. Gardening burns calories. Gardening is considered moderate to high-intensity exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, you can burn up to 330 calories during just one hour of light gardening and yard work — more than lifting weights for the same amount of time. The National Institute of Health goes so far as to recommend 30 to 45 minutes of gardening three to five times a week as part of a good strategy. If this is something that interests you and your garden is in need of some TLC, don’t fear! You can buy any appliances and tools you need from somewhere like https://buyersimpact.co.uk.
3. Heavy gardening is not only helpful in weight maintenance but also in reducing the risk of heart disease and other life threatening diseases. Just 30 minutes of moderate-level physical activity a few times a week can prevent and control high blood pressure. In fact, gardening scored a place on the The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute‘s recommendation list for battling high blood pressure.
4. Gardening decreases the likelihood of osteoporosis. When you dig, plant, weed, and engage in repetitive tasks that require strength or stretching, all of the major muscle groups are getting a good work out.
5. Gardening is a stress buster. As a matter of fact, it may be an even more effective stress buster than other leisure activities. In a study in the Netherlands (as reported by CNN), two groups of students were told to either read indoors or garden for thirty minutes AFTER completing a stressful task. The group that gardened reported being in a better mood than the group that read. And they also exhibited lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. This links well considering the marijuana plant can be cultivated in your garden with little maintenance, while providing you two compounds that can also decrease stress as well as having many other health benefits, look into getting some cheap CBD thanks to these cbdMD coupons.
6. Being surrounded by flowers improves one’s health. In behavioral research conducted at Rutgers University by Jeanette M. Haviland-Jones, Ph.D., the results showed that flowers are a natural and healthful moderator of moods and have an immediate impact on happiness, a long term positive effects on mood, and make for more intimate connections between individuals
7. Gardening is a way of making meaning out of our lives. Being in the garden and feeling a profound connection to the land affords us the opportunity to focus on beauty and inspires us to experience feelings of awe, gratitude, and abundance.
8. The act of gardening enables us to enter the ‘zone’, also known as an altered state of consciousness – similar to what a jogger or one who practices yoga or mediation can experience. This transcendent state is a magical and spiritual place where one experiences the best of who she/he is.
9. It is likely that gardening and flowers serve as a means for survival; or in Darwinian terms, ‘survival of the fittest’. For more than 5000 years, people have cultivated flowers. There must be a reason why this practice continues to exist. As Michael Pollan has written, “It was the flower that first ushered the idea of beauty into the world the moment, long ago, when floral attraction emerged as an evolutionary strategy.”
10. Digging in the soil has actual health and ‘mood boosting’ benefits.
Larry Dossey, M.D. who wrote the new foreword for The New Revised Edition of Digging Deep and author of One Mind: How Our Individual Mind is Part of a Great Consciousness and Why It Matters writes: “The importance of gardening and “digging deep” is written into our physiology. Evidence for what’s called the “hygiene hypotheses” is abundant. Briefly, we know that children who are exposed to dirt in the formative years develop healthier, stronger immune systems when compared to children whose parents keep them squeaky clean, and they have a lower incidence of asthma, eczema and allergies later in life. Exposure to dirt in childhood promotes good health.” 1
Christopher Lowry, Ph.D., an assistant professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been injecting mice with Mycobacterium vaccae, a harmless bacteria commonly found in soil, and has found that they increase the release and metabolism of serotonin in parts of the brain that control cognitive function and mood — much like serotonin-boosting antidepressant drugs do.
11. Gardening Improves Relationships and Compassion. Research shows that people who spend extended lengths of time around plants tend to have better relationships with others. “This is due to measurable increases in feelings of compassion; another effect of exposure to ornamental plants. Studies have shown that people who spend more time around plants are much more likely to try and help others, and often have more advanced social relationships. People who care for nature are more likely to care for others, reaching out to their peers and forming shared bonds resulting from their common interests. Extended exposure to nature and wildlife increases people’s compassion for each other as it increases people’s compassion for the environment in which they live. In short, being around plants can help to improve relationships between people and increase their concern and empathy toward others.” 2
12. Gardening may lower the risk of dementia. Some research suggests that the physical activity associated with gardening can help lower the risk of developing dementia. Two separate studies that followed people in their 60s and 70s for up to 16 years found, respectively, that those who gardened regularly had a 36% and 47% lower risk of dementia than non-gardeners, even when a range of other health factors were taken into account. The impacts of dementia can be life changing so prevention is very important.
13. Gardening strengthens your immune system. While you’re outdoors basking in the sun, you’ll also soak up plenty of vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. In turn, calcium helps keep your bones strong and your immune system healthy.
Some of the material from this article has been sourced from:
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As always, if you enjoyed this article, please share it with your friends on social media. The more the word gets out about the incredible benefits of gardening, the more positive change will happen. Sharing is a simple yet important act of generosity.
And now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear how gardening has had an impact on your health and well-being. Your thoughts are important to me so please comment!!
With love and blessings, Fran
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