Gardening is one of the great activities that help in relieving stress. And, while doing this fun exercise helps in calming the nerves down, you receive some wholesome and delicious rewards too. Nothing can give you the same amount of nutrition as consuming fresh home-grown vegetables. Not only it is free from chemicals, but growing them in the backyard saves the money that you spend on groceries. If you ever had the opportunity to eat fresh, home-grown vegetables, you know how much it tastes better than the store-bought greens. However, in case you haven’t yet, this lockdown seems to be the perfect opportunity to make an effort. Here’s how you can make your own mini vegetable garden, using household items in just 21 days.
Things To Remember
- By the end of 21 days, you will grow saplings and not mature plants.
- The veggie plants are an investment. They take their sweet time growing and developing, between 80–120 days until they are ready to harvest.
Day 01: Location
Everything you do next depends on the location you choose to start this activity. So, take a notebook, sit, analyse, and record what you want to achieve in your vegetable garden.
- Consider whether you have space and the right condition.
- Observe any obstacles and note the areas that receive the best sunlight.
- Check for underground utility lines, wiring, etc. Your garden area has to be free from them.
- Invest a whole day in checking different patterns of sunlight and shadow during a day. This step is vital because vegetables planted in the shade tend to be less productive, and more prone to disease and insect damage.
Day 02: Determine What Vegetables To Grow
Try not to get excited about the wide variety of greens that you can grow. In the beginning, limiting the number of plants is a smart thing to do in order to not get overwhelmed.
- Select crops that grow in your area. It’s best to ask neighbours and gardeners who garden nearby.
- Be practical. Decide to grow greens that you and your family will eat.
- Pick vegetables that are easy to grow as you don’t want to get frustrated and give it all up.
- Tomatoes, salad leaves, eggplant, onions, radishes, chillies, etc requires less effort to grow.
Prepare The Location
Now that you know where you want to begin gardening and have analysed the conditions surrounding that area, it’s time to start prepping the location.
Day 03: DIY Tools
Making homemade gardening tools can be really simple. It can also save money and it is an extremely sustainable practice.
Garden Fork – As we are building a mini garden, forks with a slight curve to the spines can do for scooping mulch.
Spade – These are multipurpose and can be used for digging holes, edging, lifting sod, and moving small mounds of dirt. Use spatulas to accomplish these tasks.
Day 04: Watering
- First thing first, understand how much water does a garden need.
- Generally, an inch of water per week should be enough for vegetable plants. It can be by rain or watering.
- Since it is summer, you might need double an inch that is up to about ½ inch per week extra for every 10 degrees.
- Make a homemade watering can and that will be enough to water for your mini garden.
- Use a large plastic. Make small holes on the side using a knife.
Day 05: Fencing
Do not skip this step if you don’t want your garden to get destroyed at some point. Fencing keeps people out, provide a safe environment, prevent children and animals from wandering around it, and help reduce the risk of unnecessary incidents.
Broken China Garden Fence
If you have broken china cutleries, don’t throw them away. Instead, those to create a lovely fence for your garden.
- Simple place broken pieces next to each other creating a boundary.
- If you have kids at home, unshapen the edges using sandpaper.
Day 06: Decoration
While you’re to invest so much time in creating something that is going to be close to your heart, there is no way you must not give it a personal touch.
- Flags- Make miniature flags to name different sections of vegetables you will grow.
- Nameplate- Using scrabble tiles, make a nameplate saying “your name’s vegetable garden. Or anything you like.
- You can also colour coordinate all your tools and fencing using crayons or acrylic paints.
Day 07: Supplies
Dedicate this day in collecting and preparing for the supplies you will be needing further.
- Compost and manure
- Remains of vegetables
- Hand towel
- Rubber slippers
- Gloves – Take 2 polybags. Wear it in your hands. Pull the bag backward to create finger space. Do not push too hard, otherwise, the bag will tear. Repeat on the other hand.
Day 08: Compost
Compost or as we popular call them black gold is used to feed and enhance the quality of your soil. The nutrients in the compost help the plant to grow better.
- Take a tub, begin by layering organic materials, and then a dash of soil to create a concoction. This will become humus within 10-14 days.
- It is best to keep a container to accumulate your composting materials. Things you can collect are fruit vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, eggshells, dry leaves, finely chopped wood and bark, and newspapers.
- Do not add onions and garlic to your homemade compost pile and these vegetables repel earthworms, a necessary mate of your garden.
Since its lockdown and everything is to be made a home, we will also prepare seeds for our plantation all by scratch.
Day 09: Seed Preparation
From here we are assuming that we will be growing Tomatoes, capsicum and chillies.
- Take 2-3 tomatoes, capsicum, and 7-8 chillies. Cut tomatoes, and capsicum into small pieces. Cut chillies into two halves.
- Take three separate transparent jars. Fill each with water.
- Name the jars according to vegetables to you will put in and add particular greens in respective jars.
- Do this activity early morning to allow seeds to become free from the pulp next afternoon.
Day 10: Cleaning Seed
You will notice the rotten pulp must have sunk to the bottom.
- Pour the liquid of all three jars away and rinse the seeds separately. Do not mix the seeds.
- Leave them to dry on a paper towel and, when fully dry, store in an envelope in a cool, dry place.
No matter if you are growing flowers or garden vegetables, prepping the soil before planting is essential. Why because soil needs to be in the right condition to provide nutrition and to allow water to enter the ground efficiently.
Day 11: Sampling
- Grab a handful of soil, analyse what it seems to be made up of.
- It can be sandy or have a lot of clay. You don’t want to choose a soil with too much sand or clay.
- Soil should feel fluffy like it is full of air because this means it gets plenty of oxygen.
Day 12: Evaluating
You want the soil to be dry enough for better gardening and air passage.
- You can check it by squeezing a handful of the soil. If it stays packed together without breaking, it’s wet and not suitable.
Day 13: Gathering
If you have chosen a location that has less soil and too not of the best quality you need to make things right.
- If any other area of your house has the right type of soil, collect it and place it in your garden.
- If not take help from neighbours to get the right soil.
Day 14: Cleaning
Now that you have gathered the right type of soil for gardening it is time you invest a day cleaning it properly.
- First, remove stones and pebbles. For this, you can use net cloth of filter.
- To separate weed and roots from the plant, use your hand. Divide the sections and start filtering from the top to not miss any section.
Day 15: Making Walkways
This step is necessary to keep you from destroying your own plants by walking over it. Also, the soil must remain loose initially. If you keep stepping on it, theirs is no chance of soil remaining fluffy.
- If you have walkways between plant rows, you can walk in those areas. Don’t mind decorating them with ceramic tiles or broken china too.
- But, if you don’t, make the walkways. Gather any type of soil. Prepare a thick paste by adding very little water.
- Now, make horizontal and vertical rakes. The number of rakes depends on the size of your garden. Just remember you must be able to reach everywhere without running anything.
Day 16: Analyse & Fix Compost
It’s been a week since you prepared your compost pile, thus its time you analyse its condition. Remember to not ruin the layers of the compost during the process.
- As different composting materials will decompose at different rates, you must check everything is breaking properly or not.
- In case, a few things are not breaking down chop the larger material into smaller pieces to speed up the composting process.
Day 17: Sowing Preparations
Since we are working with tomato, capsicum, and chilli plant, we will be doing row planting.
- Within the section of the rake mark vertical row using thread. Tie the thread to use as a reference.
- Keep 5-8 inches distance between each row.
- Then make furrows at the one to two-inch depth along the row using DIY garden folk.
Day 18: Sow Seeds
- Sow 3-5 seeds in each furrow. Try penetrating all deep.
- Cover the seeds with fine soil and then firm using your DIY spade. Sprinkle water gently using hands.
Day 19: Nurture
This is the time when your seeds are under the process of germinating. In 5 to 12 days your tomato, capsicum and chilli seeds should germinate. Within this duration, you need to water the soil and maintain the right conditions in order to let your plant grow well.
- Since it is summer and temperature is somewhere around 32 to 35 degrees Celsius and the soil is likely to become dry.
- Sprinkle water gently using your hand.
- Do not damp the soil, you don’t want to block the air pockets.
Day 20: Add Compost
Its time you provide needed nutrients to the soil and help germinated seeds to grow into saplings.
- Using your garden folk dig in the soil bed very gently. Under no circumstances touch the row where seeds are sowed.
- You have to move or dig the soil around it. Take a handful of compost and sprinkle around.
Day 21: Install Plant Support
Follow this step after your saplings grow from the soil. Installing support before that can ruin the germinated seeds. Only your tomato and capsicum plant will be needing the support. Chilli is already light-weight so you can avoid this step for it.
- Medium-sized wooden sticks
- Next to each sapling, install one wooden stick. Penetrate the stick deep in the soil, so that it can provide steady support to the growing plant.
- Using thread tie the plant to the support firmly, but loosely enough that you don't strangle it.
Gardening is a special task that provides a sense of accomplishment. As you invest weeks nurturing and looking after your baby plants, you learn valuable life lessons. Making your personal vegetable garden is simple and fun, especially when the supplies used are all made at home from scratch. Try indulging your kids and family, as it can turn out to be a bonding activity and help to strengthen your relationships. Also, by the end of a few months, you will be loaded with healthy greens, something which is necessary during the time when we are trying to boost our immune system to fight against viruses.