So you’ve picked up a compact composting kit and are ready to start recycling your food scraps into nutrient-rich compost – the next step is to start a garden! For those with budding green thumbs, urban gardening can be an intimidating prospect. To clarify a sometimes-mysterious process, we’ve put together a very brief how-to guide on starting a flourishing container garden replete with herbs, veggies, and flowers.
What you’ll need: Container(s), Seeds, Potting soil
Container gardens can be planted in anything deep enough to support root growth (8-12 inches ideally), as long as you put some holes in the bottom for drainage (think pots, buckets, recycled kiddie pools).
When choosing seeds, consider growing a bunch of herbs in a pot together. As for vegetables, almost everything will grow in a container. Leafy greens (chard, kale, collards) are one of the healthiest options with the most nutrients for your buck, but you can also try out tomatoes, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, carrots and onions. For a little color, calendula and johnny jump-ups (violas) can be planted next to the vegetables and their petals are delicious sprinkled over a salad.
Fill your container with lightly-packed potting soil to about an inch below the rim and plant your seeds another half inch below the surface. Alternatively, buy baby plants from a nursery and re-pot into your containers. Water your garden and place it on a rooftop, fire escape or sunny windowsill. Lettuce, peas, greens and the salad flowers can be placed outside mid-April; everything else should wait until mid-May. Remember that over-watering is the fastest and most common way to kill a plant – always let the soil dry out and then fill it up.
You can find affordable, 100% recycled garden pots at Seeds of Change