Over the years there have been many misconceptions about organic gardening, one of which is the amount of space used to grow one’s favorite veggies. Growing up on the streets of New York City I could rely only on our local markets to provide the usual necessities – some celery stalks, a head of romaine lettuce and some tomatoes for a tasty salad.
When I came across this video by organic gardener Mike Lieberman however, I realized how easy it is to take a 2 x 3 NYC fire escape and transform it into his own growing space, which meant that an organic garden could be grown anywhere, using anything from regular pots to soda bottles to hold the plants:
As for me, I no longer had a fire escape but a good space to start growing my favorite veggies. A friend of mine who had vast amounts of experience in organic gardening, happily replaced my regular soil with organic soil and gave me some organic bell pepper, snow peas and flower seeds to plant immediately. Being vegan I was thrilled to have the opportunity to start eating my food directly from our Earth.
With the exception of watching tutorials online I had absolutely no idea was I was doing in terms of gardening, so I left it up to Mother Nature to do the rest.
One thing I do know is this…Organic seeds should be grown in organic soil. OrganicSeedPeople.com sells non-GMO vegetable and herb seeds and organic soil can be found in most places like Home Depot and local farmers’ markets.
I placed the seeds into mini-planters and kept a watering schedule of every three days, except for the frequent rainy days. In just two weeks the cute little seedlings began to grow:
After three weeks I transplanted the white bean and snow pea plants into the prepared organic soil. This would be the first time I’ve ever grown ANY vegetables whatsoever, so I really didn’t know what to expect. You’ll notice some mulch placed on top of the soil, which help keep the weeds at bay.
After two months I had my first harvest of perfect snow peas! There weren’t many of them at first, but once I began picking them more peas began to emerge. How fun!
Then, purple splashed climbing french beans emerged! I picked at least twenty pods at the first harvest, which were perfect for storing for a later date.
I saved two stems of fresh bok choy and decided to try growing them by the windowsill, per the article I found in these 10 Vegetables & Herbs You Can Eat Once and Regrow Forever. On the left is day 1, with no growth as of yet, but by day 5 I had to discard the stem on the right in the first photo since it was beginning to decay. By day 7 the photo of the right is a stem that is close to planting.
I was so excited about this new venture that I separated four cloves of fresh, organic garlic (carefully making sure the outer skin was intact) and kept them in the refrigerator’s crisper drawer until they began to grow roots, which took about one month. I then gently planted each clove (root facing up) about two to four inches apart in three inches of soil. After two weeks they appear to favour the organic soil with daily watering in the early hours of the morning, following at least six hours of sunlight a day. 🙂
At the same time I separated a piece of ginger root from our recent purchase at the market and placed it on a paper towel by the windowsill. After two weeks the roots are beginning to show, but not until the roots begin growing a bit will I plant it in a nice, sunny spot:
The other day when my husband was chopping a white onion I asked him to save the bottom of the onion (with the root). I placed it carefully in a shallow hole in the regular pot, and voila! In five days I already have the beginning of greens!
Last but not least, here is an aloe plant that my beloved Mom had on her porch until her passing in April 2012. I re-planted this and two others alongside it when I first moved in and added some basil seeds to the soil. (There is also a baby basil plant to the left that snuck up on me in the last few days – so cute!).
So there you have it! Of course, many vegetables don’t grow all year round, but to get the most out of your garden during season is well-worth the time and effort. Check back in a few weeks for more tips. In the meantime, please share your gardening tips below. I’d love to hear them and help in any way I can.
About Michelle Cruz Rosado
Michelle Cruz Rosado is a professional speaker and bestselling co-author of "Pursuing Your Destiny: How to Overcome Adversity and Achieve Your Dreams." Follow Michelle for inspiring messages and quotes.