As the months get darker and cooler, a great project to engage in is crafting seedling pots from newspaper. If you dedicate a couple evenings a week for making a handful of pots, they would stack up to a lot of upcycled growing containers that are ready to go.
Priticious, a blog that combines my favorite subjects (crafting and gardening) offers a handy tutorial with step-by-step photos to demonstrate how the process works.
When it’s time to start seedlings, you’ll get to enjoy your work all over again as you fill them with starting mix.
Most gardeners already know that soil is really important. We test it for ph levels, turn it in early spring, amend it, and mulch it. Even as we engage symbiotically with it throughout the year, it is important to remember to show soil your appreciation by giving back whenever possible and in as many ways as possible.
Healthier soil means a better planet. When we all care for what we have on our own scale, we make a big impact on the globe.
Got limited ground space for gardening? Are you confined to balconies and patios?
Things to consider:
Grow summer squash and cucumbers vertically- same for tomatoes. They can be trained!
Consider different root depths and spans. The right combination can keep vegetables tightly grown together without cramping healthy growth space. This can also make it difficult for weeds to find soil to land on.
Think of plant placement in a 3D way. Trellis, hanging plants, vertical gardens, and herb spirals can give you extra ‘cube’ footage.
Here are three helpful blog posts with more ideas:
2. Here’s a great post with tips on balcony and small space gardening. They touch on making sure your plants are suited to your sun exposure and space limitations: http://www.surrey.ca/community/5974.aspx
One of the best things you can do for your soil is protect it from the bare elements. Some spaces can prove challenging to start plants in if you do not plan to water regularly or your region experiences drought conditions.
Here are three particularly outstanding perennial performers in drought stricken climates. Perennials are ideal if you want low maintenance, don’t wish to deal with repeat annual plantings, or enjoy following permaculture principles. (Or maybe you just like perennials!)
1. Blue Mist Spirea a.k.a Blue Mist a.k.aCaryopteris x clandonensis This showy perennial reminds me of blue sage, but with more of a fan shape in the bloom. It’s a bit shrubby with leaves that are similar to the shape of Lemon Verbena or perhaps bay leaves. If you like the color blue or indigo in your garden, this is a great choice, especially if you want it to really pop against other evergreen shrubs. It’s hardy from Zones 5 through 9 and likes full sun to partial shade. Bees and Hummingbirds are quite attracted to Blue Mist!
2. Hollyhock a.k.a Alcea rosea It’s a well known and well loved showy cottage extravaganza, but Hollyhocks also do more than just look good. They can grow to over 9 feet in height, provide edible flowers (albeit rather neutral in flavor) and can be a vital ground conditioning mulch. What better way to pretty up a destitute patch of crusty dirt than to toss some of these seeds during your wettest months and let them do their magic. Once established, they’re incredibly low maintenance. Hollyhocks form a deep taproot which is ideal for extracting nutrients from far down in the soil. Mulch them when they’re spent, and start improving your soil!
3. Mountain Sandwort a.k.a Arenaria montana This bright and beautiful white flowering rocky terrain lover is a brilliant solution for filling in crevices. This low lying evergreen’s roots will slowly spread in sandy soils, filling out your rock compositions in your landscape. Quite a sturdy plant, being hardy from Zone 2 through Zone 9. If you want big beautiful flowers, good ground cover and very low maintenance, Mountain Sandwort will make a great addition to your landscape and/or garden.
Image credit: Photography-S. Licensed under CC BY 2.0.