Spring is finally here. For some, that means the cold is finally letting up and the growing season is finally coming together.
Whether you live on 10 acres of land or you have 10 square feet of dirt outside of your apartment you should be gearing up to grow some food.
Gardening is a lost art that is slowly growing in popularity.
I remember as a kid me and my dad would be outside pulling weeds, making rows, and picking tomatoes. I will always remember how much I disliked it at the time because it meant I had to wake up early on a Saturday morning to “beat the heat” as my dad would say, but looking back at it now I can’t be more thankful for the knowledge my Dad gave me.
Fast forward a few years to the future and now I live in NYC in a small 2 bedroom apartment in Brooklyn. It has been a few years since I have had a real opportunity to grow anything substantial.
In the back of the building, there is a small 12-foot by 8-foot little garden. I excitedly started gathering seeds and a few other things off Amazon and started sowing away.
Gardening Supplies To Get You Started
Here is a simple list of everything you need to get started in the wonderful world of gardening.
Basic Hand Tools
This is a great little package deal and it comes with all of the necessities and even a little tote to carry all of your stuff if you have a small walk from the front door to the garden.
This little package has all of the veggies you could wish for and then some. I have had amazing success with this, plus it beats trying to buy all of these seeds individually, especially if you are forgetful like me.
Again, all of the herbs you need in a small affordable package.
The best part of all of these seeds is that they are heirlooms. Meaning you can save all of the seeds from this year’s crop and plant them again next season. You can’t do that with a lot of the store bought plants because of GMOs. For instance, if you purchase a beefsteak tomato plant from Home Depot and it doesn’t say Heirloom, and you save the seeds, and plant them next season, you will likely not get the same plant from those seeds.
At this point, all you need is some soil, water, and sun! If it is already warm enough in your area, go ahead and start making those rows and plant those seeds. Make sure you read the instructions in the packet for each seed for spacing and sunlight details.
If however, you are in an area where frosts are still occurring you will need to start your seeds indoors. You will need to grab two extra pieces of equipment.
A Seed Starting Tray
This tray is affordable, big, and self-watering! Well sort of.
It has a fabric mat that feeds the water to the soil from the bottoms of each cell, however, you do need to add water to the bottom tray every once in a while. Heres why I like it:
It comes with soil, The self-watering feature is really great if you are forgetful because you have to water maybe once every 4 to 7 days depending on how far along your seedlings are, and less opportunity for spills. Pour water in a tray rather than splashing water across delicate seeds that you are trying hard not to disturb.
And if you carefully store it somewhere it will last you a year or two.
A Simple Grow Light
Grow lights used to be a bit pricey and confusing. The power of LEDs has made both of those things absurdly easy.
This little guy is about $25 and has a self-timer for auto shut off! I would recommend getting something stronger for more mature plants but this will do just fine for starting those seeds.
Once those seeds have sprouted, and the warm weather comes in, go outside and plant those suckers outside. Just some small daily maintenance and you can successfully grow a small portion of your own food, and let me tell you, there is no tomato from a grocery store that tastes as good as the one you have grown yourself.
The benefits of growing your own food are outstanding.
First of all, you know exactly where your food is coming from and how it was treated the entirety of its existence. Which for me personally is a huge plus. My biggest issue with going to grocery stores is that I have no idea where it was grown, how it was treated, and what was sprayed on or around it.
You also have a great supply of food all through the spring, summer, and some of the fall, and if you plan well enough you can even learn how to can or dry the food you grow so that it will last you all through the winter as well.
When done correctly you can save a few dollars at the grocery store by canning tomatoes, and drying out your own beans and herbs. The more effort you put into your garden the more money you can potentially save.
Last but not least growing your own food is such a rewarding experience and a great way to boost that confidence. There is something about being self-sufficient that just makes you feel really great about yourself. You get to cook yourself a really great dinner, for pennies on the dollar, with ingredients you know are safe and loved, all because you simply put a couple seeds in some dirt. That’s amazing!
This guide is by no means meant to be an advanced guide into the wonderful world of gardening, but I hope it has convinced some of you out there to at least get a little dirty and grow your own food. Food is an amazing thing that the vast majority of us take for granted, and we can become more aware of how food ends up on our plate if everyone takes a few minutes out our days to water some really amazing plants.
A Little About The Author
This post was crafted by the awesome Anthony. Anthony is a seasoned chef and expert grower currently living in NYC.