Yes! Patio Container and Windowsill Gardening FTW.
Amidst everything else happening in the world, grocery prices just. keep. rising! 😭 Creating a patio container garden and re-growing veggies on your windowsills are fun and easy ways to dig into a rewarding and relaxing hobby, save some money, and even teach your kiddos some great life skills. All that, PLUS eating more veggies is better for our planet, too!
How to Re-Grow Veggies Without Spending a Dime
The easiest and cheapest way to get started growing your own veggies is by re-growing what you already have in your fridge! Save those romaine lettuce ends, place them in a jar with water covering the bottom, and set them in a sunny window. All you need to do is change the water when it gets cloudy... and your "throwaway romaine" will grow roots AND leaves. You might even be able to eat a salad within a week or so! You can either keep growing the romaine in water, or, once the root system is looking established, plant it in your container of choice. In addition to romaine, you can grow so many other veggies this way, including: green onions, leeks, herbs, bok choy, and even celery.
Want to Start a Patio Garden? Pick These Easy-to-Grow Veggies.
You don't need to dig up your yard to start a garden. So many things grow well in containers, including favorites like lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Choose a few that you and your family enjoy often to gain the most benefit. If you have little ones, get them involved in the process now by letting them help pick out the seeds or plants! Look for seeds that can be directly sown into your planters to save yourself from the more intensive seed starting process.
HH Hot Tip: With tomatoes and other veggies like broccoli, it's typically easier to buy them as plants. See if a local grower is selling them at your farmer's market!
How to Choose Patio Gardening Containers
If you want to make a big impact and anticipate loving patio gardening, pick out some big pots or planters designed for outdoor use—keep in mind they need to have adequate drainage. If you have cachepot containers you love, you can drill holes to add drainage (depending on the material they're made of). Alternatively, you don't have to spend much money at ALL to get growing. Try using old 5-gallon buckets (drill holes in the bottom!) or those grow pots that shrubs and trees come in. This is also a fab time to get creative—get your kiddos involved in painting and decorating re-used containers!
How to Plant Your Patio Container Garden
Once you have your containers, all you need is good quality soil for vegetables to get planting! For seeds, follow the direction on the packets. For plants, follow the directions on the tag or ask your local grower when you purchase them. Make sure your seeds and plants get enough sunshine and water! Then, Mother Nature will work her magic. Your whole fam will love waiting and watching for the sprouts to pop up and veggies to form.
Harvesting and Storing Your Produce
One of the best things about growing your own veggies is that you get to harvest only what you need, ensuring that you have extremely fresh herbs, salad greens and more. Look up the best methods for preserving whatever you grow to ensure your hard work doesn't go to waste. Give away extra produce to family, neighbors and friends. Plus, many things can be made into quick pickles, too, like cucs, carrots, and even cauliflower—perfect for adding tangy bite (and bragging rights!) to your next dinner party.
Ideas for Reducing Vegetable Waste
Use wilted veggies or berries in smoothies, soups and more—no need to chuck them out! Revive limp carrots by placing them in ice water. Puree spinach, kale or other hardy greens and freeze them in ice cube containers. Make sure you store fresh cut herbs (with stems attached) in glasses of water, just like you would fresh flowers!
HH Hot Tip: Buy lemons in bulk, then put them in a large container and submerge them in water. They will last sooo much longer than sitting in the fridge or on the counter.
Despite our best efforts, sometimes things still go bad... that's okay! You can still reduce your food waste by composting. At best, you'll be creating your own fertile soil to replenish your patio garden containers with nutrients. At worst, you'll be feeding worms and other creatures instead of add more waste to the landfill! It's easy to create your own by building or buying a compost bin. If you don't have the space or don't feel up to it, check to see if composting pick-up services are offered in your area.
What are your favorite patio and container gardening tips? How long have you been able to regrow your scallions? Share it with us on Insta @holistichabitatclt, and don't forget to tag us in your new garden pics!