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Past Articles Library | Container Gardening

Garden One Inch at a Time-Square Inch Gardening


In recent years, square foot gardening has been a topic of discussion. While this gardening technique does have its positives, it still prevents a certain number of people from gardening. The square inch gardening technique not only incorporates those who garden now but also provides a method for those who feel they cannot garden.

The equipment needed for this gardening technique is very minimal and includes a good all-purpose potting soil, seeds, paper towel or coffee filter, and those clear plastic containers that fruit or vegetables comes in.

To begin this technique requires a little cleaning. Take the clear plastic container and soak it in warm, soapy water until it is clean and the labels have peeled off. Rinse completely and let air-dry.

Once the container has dried, it is time to begin the planting process. Line the bottom portion of the container with a paper towel or coffee filter making sure to cover all the holes in the bottom of the container. Next, sprinkle some water on the potting soil and mix. Continue with this process until all the soil is evenly moist. Another approach to moistening soil is to buy soil that is premoistened. If using this type of soil remember to close up the bag tightly after use.

After the soil has been moistened, the next step is to fill the container with soil. When filling the container, only fill to the top rim of the bottom part of the container. Now you can plant your seed. Greens, radishes, turnips, onions, and nasturtiums are just a few of the seeds that you can plant. Just remember when selecting seeds that you are going to harvest only the leaves or flowers of the plants not the fruits. Once you have selected your seed, simply sprinkle the seed on the surface of the soil, mist with water and close the lid.

If you want a true square inch garden space, simply measure and mark off the inches going in both directions. Draw a grid with powdered milk or secure string to each point and weave a grid. At this point, only plant in each square inch that has been created.

Monitor the soil moisture and spray as needed. Another type of water system does exist if you feel you may forget to water. This system is very easy and only requires a cup of water, saucer or plate and your container. To use this system, simply place the container on the saucer and pour water into the saucer. The drainage material (paper towel or coffee filter) will take up the water as needed and water the seedlings.

Place your square inch garden on a windowsill. Once the seeds start to germinate, you may need to open the lid to prevent the seedlings from growing up into the lid.

Once your seedlings or sprouts become the size you want, simply harvest them with a pair of scissors. Continue to harvest until the container is empty and then reseed. You can replant several times before you need to put fresh soil in your container.

Other unique plants to grow in these clear, plastic containers are garlic and/or onion lawns. These lawns are harvested and used like chives. They are a delightful addition to bake potatoes, sandwiches and even soups.

To grow your own garlic and/or onion lawn, you will need the seed from both of these plants. This can be gathered when the plants are harvested and are drying for winter storage. The process is the same as above; just remember that these plants produce thousands of seeds so do not go overboard when planting your seed.

With this above technique, a trash to treasure item can be turned into a simply mini-greenhouse that can fit anywhere and in anyone's lifestyle. The only limit is your gardening imagination.


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When to Water

If you can, it is always best to water early in the morning. This allows the plant's leaves and flowers to dry off as the day warms up.

If you water at night, the plant stays wet for hours in the cool, which are prime conditions for fungi and other problems to set in.

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