The covid crisis has changed the way people eat, consume and think. Farmers continue to struggle, as their crops rot in the fields while countless are line in at food banks. It’s a striking juxtaposition of the country’s current economy. That’s why many seek self-sustainability in the form of gardening.
Just as citizens were encouraged to grow “victory gardens” to combat the shortage of food supply during the world wars, Americans are now re-learning to grow their own.
If you are looking to start your own pandemic garden, here’s what you need to know.
Be smart with space
You could be living in an apartment with a balcony space to spare or a voluminous backyard. Whichever part of your home you choose, be very smart with your space.
Consider the amount of sunlight your plants will receive, and the kinds you want to grow. For example, zucchini generously grows and can take up a lot of room. The same goes with tomatoes. On the other hand, herbs like rosemary, thyme and basil would only require a small container by your windowsill. Jalapenos and peppers also work very well with small spaces.
Choose seedlings carefully
Putting too much pressure on yourself when starting a pandemic garden can take a toll. The last thing you want is to feel discouraged, then throw in the towel.
Part of being easy with yourself is selecting the right seeds. Choose the healthiest ones you can find and go for pre-sprouted seedlings. It’s more convenient and gets you off to a more noob-friendly start.
Working with sunlight and water
The natural tendency of gardeners is to overwater. Fortunately, the single most efficient trick in the book is to stick your finger in the soil. Consider it your natural water gauger: Wet is bad, damp is good, dry can be both in a way. When your soil is dry, it gives the roots a chance to grow out and look for water.
When it comes to the amount of sun your pandemic garden will need, it’s a mix of common sense and getting acquainted with hardiness zones. It’s a simple understanding of which plants will thrive most during cold weather.
Tend to your soil
Having healthy soil is already half the battle won. The most basic rule to follow here is to ensure your soil is packed with nutrients. Composting is a great way for this.
You can get it from your local shops or you can even make your own. Biodegradable matter like banana peel, wilted vegetables, apples, and the like are all powerful additions to your compost. You can even use coffee grounds and shredded newspaper. Plus, instead of throwing away those fallen dry leaves, put them in the pot as well.
It can be intimidating at first but don’t be afraid to be adventurous. The beauty of home-grown regional seed banks is the amount of variety you can get your hands on. Trying pattypan zucchini instead of the regular-shaped ones or bok choy and Asian broccoli in place of the usuals can surprise you in good ways.
Always look into your local communities when scoring seeds. Not only are you helping small businesses thrive during the pandemic. You also get to discover so much more about growing your own.