GC and I began planting our apartment garden over the weekend! Before we both began working full time, we spent a few weeks at an organic farm that is run by a professor we both had at Hopkins. This guy is awesome–he runs his own private consulting practice, wrote the organic laws for Maryland, is a professor, has an amazing farm, and is getting started bottling his own organic cider.
We learned so much from him in such a short amount of time. Like how to make peace with bees–I have always understood how much bees are needed to make the world go round, but was terrified of them after being stung multiple times when I was younger.
Anyways, I was tasked with the lavender cutting for a few days while we were there. Sounds awesome, peaceful, and calming, right? That’s what I thought when I eagerly said yes! Well, as much as people love lavender, bees love it even more. So happy are they that they get a little drunk from the lavender nectar, and buzz happily while hanging out in the lavender field. It really was amazing–you could hear that their buzzing was calm and peaceful, not angry or agitated.
I was able to grab the lavender in handfuls from the base of the plant, and gently shake it back and forth before cutting it with scissors. The bees stayed happy and simply moved to another lavender stalk. As I walked back with two big buckets full of lavender, I brought back several of my new bee friends who were content to follow the buckets a quarter mile back to the house and hang out. I finally made peace with them!
Needless to say, we absolutely loved our time working at his farm, and it inspired us to try our hand at growing plants indoors. On our final day, he gave us a few plants to take home.
Anyways, we went to the store to get all our materials we needed for this year’s garden. Unfortunately, we had a slight bug infestation problem last summer, so we wanted to start fresh with all new dirt. Luckily the bugs never actually left their pots, but since we live i an apartment I didn’t feel comfortable with them all there.
We spent an hour perusing the options. We knew we wanted organic seeds, and we knew we needed some larger pots, but beyond that anything was fair game.
We ended up deciding on:
- Bell peppers
We also bought:
- 3 large, rectangular planters
- 4 bags of organic potting soil
- 1 hoe
- 1 spade
- 6 packages of seed starter trays
- 1 large plastic tarp for the floor
Once we were settled on everything we needed, we brought it home and got to work. We laid out the plastic tarp so our floor didn’t get dirty, and brought all our old pots and materials out. All the old dirt? Bye bye. Into the garbage it went. Farewell buggy friends, please don’t return.
We then sterilized all of the old pots. I read somewhere that bug larvae and bad bacteria can live in dirty pots, so whenever you are planting something new it is ‘best practice’ to wash it with hot water and soap. We also gave our new pots a quick rinse to remove any residue on them.
My succulents are the only thing we are keeping from last year. I was able to get 99% of the old dirt off of their roots, so we put them into new pots with new dirt. Did you know that you can grow a new succulent from just one of the leaves?
All of my succulent babies started from one plant I got at a farmer’s market with a friend in Baltimore last year. So many new ones have grown!
We then planted the seeds into the little sprouting trays we bought, putting 3-4 seeds in each tray. I filled the trays directly in the empty pots for easier clean up, and then took them out, filled the pots with dirt, and placed the trays on top. We used the spritzer bottle to we the soil for all of them.
You’re probably wondering why the last photo is covered in plastic wrap…the only place we could put the trays is right where our heating vent blows. I noticed after a few hours that the soil lo
oked completely dry, and I had already read on the eggplant seed packet that you hould cover the seeds until they germinate, so we put the plastic wrap over them to keep in moisture. Not sure how long we are going to leave this on yet, but will keep you posted.
Do you grow anything at home? I used to think that it was impossible to garden while living the city life, but it really isn’t! Start with a little plant and go from there. I’ll be keeping you posted on our apartment gardening adventures every month.