Are you all starting to become enthusiastic for growing your own vegetables? I sure hope so. And with these tips, you’ll be off to a flying start with your very own (miniature) kitchen garden.
Okay, maybe talking about having a kitchen garden is being a bit optimistic. I know most of you don’t have the space or time for that. And you don’t have to, honestly. You can just as well grow one or two veggies in your house or on your balcony. That way it will require a minimum amount of work, and you will experience all the joys of growing your own vegetables that I talked about last week.
- It all starts with some seeds. And that is where my first tip comes in. Especially if you are just starting to grow your own plants, you are best off buying proper seeds. Trying to extract seeds from full-grown vegetable plants or from fruits might seem a good idea, but in reality it can be quite hard to do and most of the time they will not sprout. It is better to buy a packet of seeds from your local garden centre, or even grocery store. They will have a huge variety in species and usually the packets provide good information about sowing and plant care.
- Second is the soil you use. Try to use potting soil with some added minerals, rather then ordinary soil from your garden. It will provide your baby plants with more nutrients and help them to grow better. And really, a bag of potting soil costs next to nothing, so that won’t be a problem.
- Now on to the actual sowing. Here I only really want to urge you to keep to the instructions provided on the packet. It might seem like you have to leave a lot of space between the seeds, but please do it anyway. If you don’t, your plants might overcrowd the soil and start competing with each other for nutrients and space. That way you will end up with smaller, less healthy plants, or maybe even no mature plants at all.
- Give your plants a nice place in a bright room, but out of very strong sunlight. Especially with south-facing windows, you will have to make sure your plants don’t get “burned”. Also turn the pot every now and then, as the plants will tend to grow towards the light and become very lop-sided.
- As for watering them, of course you will have to do that regularly. But even more important is to not over-water them. I know it is very tempting to want to look after your plant in the best possible way and water it every day or even several times a day. Don’t do that. Most plants are better off living in slightly too dry soil, than when they would be drowning in too much water. Only water when the soil starts to look very dry, becomes a bit lighter in colour and feels crumbly to the touch.
- Finally, harvest when you think it is time. There is no need to hold on to ideal measurements for the plants before harvesting. Search the internet for characteristics of the plant, so you will be able to recognise when it is ripe for harvest. If it is still smaller than store-bought versions, well, so be it. Just enjoy your (dwarf) veggies fresh and tasty.
I hope you will have fun growing your own vegetables and I’d love to hear your experiences.