“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow”.
Hello, young Padawan
To bounce back from last week’s article, let’s talk about gardening. But not just any gardening: urban growing in pots.
I hear regularly here and there: “If I had a garden, I would grow fruits and vegetables”. I understand it’s a beautiful dream, except that you don’t need to have a garden to have a vegetable patch.
If you only have a window sill: You can grow, strawberries, aromatic plants, cherry tomatoes, verbena, … I no longer want to see a single window sill without a planter.
If you only have a small balcony: Let’s go for tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, potatoes, … You can really have fun growing a mini vegetable garden in pots that will delight the bees around, and give beautiful colors to your plates. Give and take.
If finally, you want to go further, many towns have plots of land to rent to make a vegetable garden … but that is not the subject of the day. Pot culture, we said. Let’s go, welcome to my garden, or almost.
Plant in pots and planters on your balcony (or window sill)
On my balcony, you already know, I have a lot of plantations. All legal, I reassure you, no bizarre mushrooms who shout “eat me!” here, lol. Oxheart tomatoes, Black Krim tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, verbena, strawberries, lavender, thyme, parsley, basil, lemons, chives, mint, and onions. I would even say that next year I will be food self-sufficient; it’s a joke of course, but in any case, my mini vegetable garden provided me with everything I needed for today’s lunch, as well as for my dinner this evening, without counting the lemon water of this afternoon supplied by “Marcel the lemon tree”. Yes, his name is Marcel, and he still has 2 beautiful lemons and lots of cute flowers and baby lemons.
Honestly, it is not rocket science, it does not require a colossal budget, nor a crazy green thumb, just a little organization, a few seeds and a touch of experience that comes gradually. We all start from scratch, we learn from our mistakes, in short, it’s like everything in life.
For example for tomatoes, I got to know Missouri pruning. But what is it? Let me tell you: This is a tip which consists in pruning the suckers not at the base but kind in the middle (see the small sketch below) so that my plants, exposed due south, which spend a good part of the day in full sun, can improve their photosynthesis and so that the small leaves can shade the emerging tomatoes. While in areas where your tomatoes are not in full sun, it would be more efficient to prune the suckers at the base. Trimming the tomato plant is an art. On my very first plant, I only had 3 tomatoes for my first harvest, since I cut the suckers well as explained, I have 5 to 6 tomatoes per plant per harvest. Almost double. Be careful, this does not work for all varieties of tomatoes, so it is good to learn step by step, depending on what you have at home. You follow me ? I think so.
A vegetable garden without any chemical treatment. For this I planted nasturtiums at the foot of my zucchini, basil at the foot of cucumbers (I can’t stop it anymore, I have 12 baby cucumbers which grow so fast that in the morning I am afraid of finding myself with a “Monster Mind” (Do you remember “Jayce and the wheeled warriors ?!”. Hi from the 80s’, ed), I installed a big pot of yellow flowers which smell of honey so that all these little plants can be well pollinated by our friends the bees on one side, and on the other one, I have my lemon tree which attracts the whole “bees-osphere”. We can always do better, more, but for now, this little haven of peace suits me.
And in addition, I have room to take a drink. That’s great, there are also cherry tomatoes to snack. 🍺
If you have any trouble with your little garden, the internet is full of natural and economic advice from expert gardeners.
It is also pleasant to change from year to year, to gain experience, to adapt as best as possible to your climate, understanding the exposure, and how the potted plants adapt themselves, and also, of course, by cultivating what pleases you. For example, I know for a fact that potatoes grow well in pots here. Only, for the moment, it doesn’t make me dream of it. So I chose to grow cucumbers instead, and I am delighted. Gardening is doing with what you have, what you can, but also with your tastes and your desires. However, for next year, I’m not saying no to sweet potatoes, and why not a butternut plant. I also really want to make turmeric and ginger. We will see.
Need to clear your head? Grow a mini garden
Garden therapy. Yes, I do it Orwellian newspeak today, lol. Would I have invented a concept? Well, I don’t know but don’t count on me to get you again my well-known tirade, no, no, no. As I know you crave for it, let’s do it but in a short version: We are made to run naked in the woods, to catch berries in the bushes, eat blackberries and raspberries for example in summer (wow, you saw, the little wink to seasonality, lol, ed). However, a mammal deprived of its natural pampas develops stress and anxiety …
Do you want to find some serenity in this crazy world? To get out, would it not be for ten minutes a day from your vicious circle of the subway-work-sleep? Just create a mini garden, with the means at hand, and you will see. What? Well, do it, and you will see.
Seeing what you have planted germinate, grow, become a beautiful plant and give you fruits ready to harvest is satisfaction and well-being that you will not be able to do without, even more, if you are a city dweller. Try, I see you rolling your eyes, but you’ll see, as I said.
Bring strawberries to your office, or cherry tomatoes from your window sill to your friends, you can’t imagine the pride it brings. It’s a bit like mediation: taking care of your tomato plant soothes you, refreshes your mind, clears your head. Cutting the dead leaves off your strawberries, cutting your basil, watering the baby peppers, all this is a healthy, de-stressing occupation, it brings serenity to your mind. A kind of shrink, but free.
The appeasement you are looking for? In plants, you will find it.
That’s it, for this little tour of my vegetable garden in pots. I hope I made you want to grow food everywhere, no matter where you live. You only understand the pride of the gardener when you have bitten in your first harvest. Believe me, the homemade strawberry has a flavor that no other will ever have. And in addition, you know what you put in it, or rather what you did not put in it, I think you understood.
So let’s go towards a more relaxed, more serene, more natural world, and let’s watch our tomatoes and aromatic plants grow while drinking a good beer.
Your turn to play. 🍅