The easiest way to start gardening and loving it!

Reading Time: 4 minutes

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I hear so many people tell me they have a brown thumb. “I can’t grow anything”, ” everything I try to grow dies.”

With experiences like that who would want to try and grow something, especially food for themselves. It makes the gardening process way to heavy and stressful. It just seems too hard and you already feel like you’ve failed. Feeling like you failed stinks. I’ve been there too and understand how you are feeling.

You can grow things and we can show you how.

Failing doesn’t build confidence or bring you the peace you were hoping for from gardening. So let’s change your thought pattern and instead let’s think of it as experimentation.

So you experimented and the experiment didn’t go in the direction you wanted. They often don’t, but it is not the end of the world because you get to experiment again, and again, and again if needed.

Only this time you are going to start with something simple. Like a house plant that can take almost anything.

Sansevieria trifasciata is one of the easiest plants to grow.

Enter the sansevieria, sometimes known as a snake plant, mother-in-law’s tongue, Saint George’s sword, viper’s bowstring hemp, and many more. Those are the common names and aren’t always the best way to find a particular species of plant. If you want to get very specific use the Latin name which in this case is Sansevieria trifasciata. This way we are all working with the same plant.

This experiment starts with a fun, easy mission. Find a pot you love, then order a sansevieria and plant it in this new cool pot. Name him/her/they and then enjoy watching that plant settle into the pot and live a long happy life.

You don’t need to overwhelm yourself with all the stuff you see on-line or in all the books offered on Amazon about gardening. Just K.I.S.S. on this one.

You will hear things like you need to fertilize it once a month, light requirements, soil needs, how invasive it can be, and on and on but we are keeping it very simple and in a pot, in the house.

In future posts, we can break all that other information down but for now, just keep it simple. Get a basic potting soil, a plant, and a pot. You can even purchase one that is already planted in a pot you like.

There is only one goal in this experiment and that is to get to know your new friend. It may sound silly but plants are alive and the more you interact with them the more you get to know them.

Pet your buddy when you pass by. Say hello. Tell them a joke or dump your day on them. They love it! Just enjoy your relationship with this one simple plant.

The fantastic thing about Sansevierias is that they are in the Asparagaceae family and are a pretty hardy plant that doesn’t need a ton of care. They actually thrive being left alone and can deal with a variety of light situations. Low light? No problem they can handle that. Bright light? Ok, they enjoy that as well. They just don’t love extreme blasting sun all the time, it can burn them out but they will usually survive that as well.

You don’t need to water it all day every day because it is a succulent and they can go for long periods of time without water. In fact, they enjoy it when the soil drys out a bit. They definitely do not like to sit in wet soggy soil so just a touch (cup) of water in the soil, not the leaves, every few weeks. That will make them very happy.

Set an alarm on your phone that tells you to touch the soil once a week. It will be good for you and the plant. Overwatering is normally the biggest issue with plants believe it or not.

In this experiment, you get to just look at your plant, enjoy it, say hello each morning, and say good night before bed. That is it. That is the goal of this experiment to just enjoy the beauty and natural aspects of this plant for as long as you wish.

If you want to do this for a month, great. A year, fantastic. Go at your pace and just enjoy watching the experiment.

You can try drawing your plant. It doesn’t have to be perfect just doodle it. Take the time to really look at it and see the lines, colors, shapes. It is a form of meditation that will chill you out quickly while connecting you with nature.

See how your breathing shifts when you do this. It is pretty amazing. You will also notice when the plant starts to grow and see the new leaves breaking through the soil. That is always a thrill for me. I love watching things grow and create new forms.

Soon you will want a friend for your Sansevieria trifasciata.

My guess is that you’ll enjoy this new relationship so much that it won’t take a year for you to want to bring a friend home for your plant buddy. But give yourself time that way you have no pressure and can just enjoy the process.

If for some reason it dies you didn’t fail. You can experiment again. Failure isn’t really a failure at all, ever. You gain valuable information from the experience. Next time you’ll have a new experience and will gain valuable information from it too.

There are so many plants to experiment with. Even “expert” gardeners are not perfect with everything they plant. That is part of the fun to see what thrives and what doesn’t and then modify the experiment and try again.

Mama Nature does the exact same thing, all the time, for billions of years.

I’m excited for you and can’t wait to hear how it goes. Let me know about your experience in the comments below.

Plant Power On!

Stephanie

10 Ways To Garden, which way works best for you?

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post, document, email, or site may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, The Plant More Project may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). We use this money to help run our organization and continue our mission. Here’s a link to our full disclosures, terms & privacy if you’d like to read more.

There are so many ways to garden and each has pros and cons. Explore these 10 options and choose which works best for you.

Think about the seasons before starting a garden of any size so you can plan out the details in advance.

Containers offer a lot of flexibility and design options.

1) Container Gardening

Pros

  • They work well for any size space, especially smaller spaces.
  • You can move containers around easily unless you get a giant one.
  • There are so many colors, sizes, and shapes to choose from.
  • You can choose containers to compliment your home decor.
  • You can find them everywhere at thrift stores, specialty shops, and people are always giving them away.
  • You can put them at any height so they are easy to get to.
  • They are easy to clean up, re-paint, and make look new again.
  • They hold water well with no hole and have the option for better drainage with a saucer on the bottom.
  • Inexpensive to start with.
  • You can start small and work your way up the gardening ladder with containers.

Cons

  • Some containers can hold water too well and you get root rot.
  • In the summer months, containers tend to dry out quickly so you have to water more.
  • Containers can crack and break.
  • Containers need soil and sometimes bugs like wet soil.
  • Because there is less soil your plant will use nutrients faster so you will need to fertilize more often.
  • The large ones can be expensive and heavy.
  • Plants will need to be stepped-up when they get too big for their container home.
Raised beds offer you a larger space to grow than containers.

2) Raised Bed Gardening

Pros

  • You can create any size or shape you desire.
  • You can make them tall so you don’t have to bend as much.
  • They help define your garden space and look aesthetically pleasing.
  • They help keep some garden pests out.
  • Easy to weed.
  • Drainage is a little better when the soil is higher.
  • You can pack more plants into a smaller growing space.
  • A great option for beginners.
  • They can be temporary or seasonal.
  • Pretty easy to build and you can put them on wheels.
  • You can cover them to start seeds earlier.
  • No soil compaction because you never walk inside the bed, just around it.
  • Inexpensive materials. You can build a raised bed from scraps of wood, tires, rocks, cinderblocks, and more. The options are endless.
  • You have more control over your soil because it’s contained.

Cons

  • A raised bed made from wood can rot.
  • Requires a lot of soil to fill it up.
  • They don’t have the best air circulation. Some plants don’t like that.
  • They can dry out fast so you need to stay up on your watering habits.
  • The cost of materials can be pricey if you want a certain style. Think recycled and save time and money.
  • Requires some handy person skills and tools to set up.
  • A raised bed can become a litter box for your feline friends.
  • If you have a cement floor under it there is less room for root growth.
Grow a garden without using soil.

3) Hydroponic Gardening

Pros

  • No soil needed.
  • Uses water more efficiently. Uses less water than soil gardens.
  • Fewer pests and disease.
  • You can grow more in the same amount of space.
  • Many plants grow faster in hydroponic gardens.
  • You can control the PH easier.
  • Saves you money.
  • Reduces fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides leaching into the water systems.
  • You can monitor the nutrients easier.
  • No weeds. This is a big one.
  • You don’t need pesticides, herbicides, or other toxic chemicals.
  • It looks impressive and yields a lot of food.
  • The water pump sounds like a fountain and is soothing.
  • Less labor-intensive.
  • Calming and fun to play with.

Cons

  • Materials and set up can be costly.
  • You do need to spend some time managing it.
  • Could be dangerous because of water and electricity near each other.
  • You have to educate yourself about hydroponic gardening.
  • Need electricity to run the pumps and air stones.
  • Because the plants are close if there were a disease it could spread quickly.
  • The pumps could fail or lose power.

4) Aeroponic Gardening

Pros

  • Similar to hydroponics with many of the same benefits but uses less water as it sprays a mist instead of a water flow.
  • Nice air circulation. Most systems have a timed mist.
  • Moisture control.
  • Can plant more in a small space.
  • Simple set up.
  • You can create them yourself.
  • Sends nutrients right to the roots.
  • The plants are cleaner without the soil.
  • Easy to scale.
  • Roots don’t sit in water like in hydroponics.

Cons

  • Similar cons to hydroponics.
  • You need to maintain the nutrients.
  • You must clean the reservoir.
  • You must stay on top of the mister and timers.
  • Requires electricity, timers, pumps and other materials which can be a pricey upfront cost.
  • You must watch for root disease.

5) Aquaponic Gardening

Pros

  • Similar to hydroponics and aeroponics in that it uses far less water than traditional soil gardening.
  • You don’t need to purchase nutrients as the fish provide the nutrients via their waste products.
  • High yield and faster-growing plants.
  • Environmentally friendly as the fish waste doesn’t run off into our water systems. It keeps recycling back into the plants.
  • It can be cost-effective once set up and you don’t need to buy fertilizers because you have fish doing the work for you.
  • It is fun to interact with the fish and there are so many beautiful species options. Koi, goldfish, tilapia.
  • Two food sources, plants, and fish (tilapia).

Cons

  • The initial setup and purchase of fish can be expensive.
  • Requires maintenance of the system and the fish.
  • Limited on the plants that can be grown this way.
  • Uses a lot of electricity because of larger pumps and filters.
  • The fish produce a lot of waste.
  • You’ll need larger more complicated filters to clean the water because of the fish. These are more expensive than the air stones, misters, and fountain pumps found in hydroponics and aeroponics.
  • You must monitor the health of the fish daily.
Grow a garden in a closed container and watch the magic happen.

6) Terrarium Gardening

Pros

  • They are a contained garden microhabitat. Can be completely contained or open.
  • Very low-maintenance indoor gardening.
  • Can be made in a huge array of shapes and sizes.
  • Don’t require a lot of time or effort after set up.
  • You can grow plants that might not grow well inside or in drier air.
  • A beautiful conversation piece.
  • Easy to keep clean.
  • Few pests.
  • Water recycles itself in the closed terrarium so you don’t need to water often. Some don’t need water at all after proper setup.
  • Endless options for internal decorations. Add some rocks or fairies.
  • Easy to create.
  • Can use recycled jars, fish tanks, wine glasses, and more to make your own.
  • Closed terrariums can recycle their air as well.
  • Makes a great educational project. Shows the interactions of plants, soil, water, and air.

Cons

  • You will need some basic materials to set it up such as a nice container, rocks, soil, small plants that won’t grow very large like dwarf ferns, moss, orchids, or carnivorous plants.
  • Can rot if you over water.
  • Can attract bugs if you over water.
  • Containers can break.
  • Plants can rot or become diseased.

7) Water Gardening

Pros

  • A great option for wet landscapes.
  • Beautiful and tranquil.
  • Incorporates plants, water, and fish if desired.
  • You can grow plants that like their feet wet. Make sure to purchase or grow water-loving plants.
  • Encourages and supports wildlife.
  • You don’t need to water the plants.
  • Moving water actually helps clean the air.
  • Reduces lawns, pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides.
  • Creates an ecosystem.
  • You can add beautiful fish and interact with them.
  • Can raise your property value if done well.
  • Can be made any size you desire including in a container.
  • Can lower your stress levels and create a peaceful spot in your yard.

Cons

  • Can be costly to set up.
  • You will need to maintain it so it doesn’t get swampy.

8) Rock Gardening

Pros

  • Simple to create.
  • Looks clean and neat.
  • Easy to spot weeds if there are weeds at all.
  • Can use found or recycled materials as centerpieces.
  • Very low maintenance.
  • Requires no water.
  • Easy for a beginner.
  • Color and design options are endless.
  • Very zen looking.
  • A great conversation piece.
  • Can be combined with plants to create interest.
  • No pesticides, fertilizers, herbicides, or chemicals needed.

Cons

  • Materials can be expensive in the beginning.
  • Can look drab or static.
  • Can hold heat.

9) Greenhouse Gardening

Pros

  • You can grow year-round. Holds heat in the winter and you can cool in it the summer with fans.
  • Easier to control pests, disease, and weeds.
  • Can grow more in a smaller space.
  • Nice place to hang out in the colder months.
  • A great place to start seedlings.
  • Grow flowers year-round.
  • A nice place to nurse sick plants back to health.
  • Provides a lot of oxygen.

Cons

  • The initial investment can be pretty hefty.
  • Takes up a significant amount of time to maintain.
  • Maybe unsightly to some. I love them.
  • Not great for beginners as you need to control a lot of variables such as climate, water, pests, disease, and many other details.
  • Uses a lot of electricity for heat, additional lights, and fans.
  • Can be a breeding ground for disease because it is moist and contained. It does need additional airflow installed such as a fan.
  • You have to stay on top of it as you are responsible for the plants well being from top to bottom.
  • It can fall apart if the wrong materials are used for your area. Wood can rot, metal gets cold in the winter, covers can break with a heavy snow load. You must make sure you use the right materials for your area.
Build community with a garden.

10) Community Gardening

Pros

  • You get to know new people.
  • Gardening brings the community together.
  • You learn so many things around other gardeners.
  • Inexpensive place to grow a garden.
  • Easy setup. Raised beds are usually already done for you in an established community garden.
  • Networking. You meet people from all walks of life.
  • Creates a more educated, healthier community.
  • Provides fresh food.
  • Teaches leadership and responsibility.
  • Gets people out and about in nature which has physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual benefits.
  • Can increase the property value of a neighborhood.
  • Beautifies an area.

Cons

  • Conflicts. People are people and sometimes they don’t agree.
  • Theft. Yes, sometimes people will steal your harvest before you get to enjoy it.
  • Long term maintenance issues. When people get burnt out they stop tending to the garden.
  • Resources. Most community gardens don’t have a fund to fix and maintain their garden so it falls apart. This is why using recycled items are so wonderful.

There are many more options and combinations. The sky is the limit when it comes to gardening. So which did you pick? Why not try a few of them and see what works best for you.

Can you think of any other ways to garden? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Plant Power On

Stephanie

3 Enlightening Reasons to Start with a Seed so you can change your world!

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Affiliate Disclaimer: This post, document, email, or site may contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, The Plant More Project may receive a commission (at no additional cost to you). We use this money to help run our organization and continue our mission. Here’s a link to our full disclosures, terms & privacy if you’d like to read more.

When planting a garden start with seeds. Don’t be afraid it’s easy and fun to plant with seeds. It is also very beneficial for you, the plant’s health, and the planet. Here are 3 enlightening reasons to start with a seed.

Starting with non GMO, heirloom, organic seeds is a better option than cloned plants.

1) Biodiversity

The number one reason to start with seed is biodiversity. We hear this word thrown around a ton, but what does it actually mean and why would you care about it when gardening?

The dictionary defines biodiversity as “the variety of life in the world or in a particular habitat or ecosystem.” Yes, but what does that mean for my plants?

In regards specifically to seeds, we are looking for a starting point that is filled with a variety of behaviors and interactions. The more variety the better because the seed can use that variety to adapt to their environment.

A seed is a starting point. How genetically diverse that seed is may say if it survives the changing world or not.

Think of it this way … If a child was created naturally from a mother’s egg and a father’s sperm the combination would create a unique and hopefully adaptable new person who gets the best of each parent’s DNA. In a perfect world, they would be a stronger version of their parents. They would have a variety of genetic behaviors and interactions.

If we took one parent and replicated them or cloned them over and over we would get the exact same version of that parent without all the benefits of the variety. They would be an exact replica nothing new mixed in there.

So what’s the problem with that you ask? Well, it’s great for a Sci Fy movie but not great for biodiversity. If a disease or pest comes along and destroys the parent it is highly likely that the same outcome will happen to the replicated or cloned offspring. You reduce adaptability when you work with cloned or modified seeds, or plants, or kids for that matter.

Mixed genes from two parents have a better chance of being stronger versions of their parents and might adapt and survive better. The female part of the flower is pollinated by the male’s pollen and that makes seeds. Cuttings make clones.

Of course, this is a very simplified way to explain this because there are a million other factors that determine genetics but this gives you an idea.

Seeds have more genetic variation than cloned plants. In nurseries or at the big box stores you find a lot of cloned plants. They come from cuttings of a parent plant which makes them clones. They are the exact same genetic makeup of the parent plant they took the cutting from.

If that parent plant was pollinated and then went to seed and you planted the seed you would have a variety of genetic information. Each seed would be a little different and that is a good thing. That diversity or biodiversity gives the next generation of plants a better chance of survival from a disease, pests, climate change, and so on.

In wild nature, plants adapt to changes in their environment, and those changes, in theory, make each generation stronger.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen with man-made intervention. Many of the plants we grow today rely heavily on man to keep them going because we manipulate the diversity to try and control the outcome of the plants.

GMO plants are plants that are manipulated to get the outcome people desire, like a stronger skin on a tomato, corn that is resistant to certain pesticides, or soybeans manipulated to create more oleic acid. This doesn’t mean they are healthy or genetically superior. In fact, some scientists believe that GMO plants might be a very bad option long term. The debate is heated and the verdict still very much up in the air on this subject. We will have to wait and see what happens with GMOs.

Since we like to follow the laws of nature here at The Plant More Project we are going to go with the concept of natural biodiversity. The idea of plants mixing it up and trying to adapt to the environment with a stronger, better version of themselves. That is done through seeds. Organic or heirloom seeds being the best options.

When you plant from seed it can be hit or miss. Some seeds will be stronger than others. That is ok too. You can plant 100 seeds from the same package and maybe 50 will grow into strong healthy plants.

By the way, if you get 50% of your seed package growing healthy and strong you are kicking butt!

A great way to see how viable (or strong) your seeds are is to take a wet paper towel and place 10 of the same type of seeds from the same package on the wet towel and fold it over. Wait a few days, keeping the paper towel moist but not soaked and see how many seeds sprout.

If 1 out of 10 sprout then you have a 10% viability. Two out of the ten then you have a 20% viability. The higher the better. That is what they mean on the seed package when they say germination rate.

So starting with seed is a great option. This goes for anything you plant from tomatoes to landscape plants. We want to plant from seeds as much as possible. We want to increase biodiversity in all forms of planting because it has powerful impacts on the plants and animals living in the ecosystem. That includes us.

Storing seeds is a great way to create a library of plants at your disposal.

2) Seeds are plants on hold

Seeds are plants waiting to happen. They are in a survival state and magically know when the right time to sprout is. That is pretty incredible.

Seeds are able to stay dormant and survive conditions that the actual plant may die in. How freaking cool is Mama Nature! She figured out a storage concept to keep plants going and pop out when the time is right.

There are three parts to a seed. The seed coat or protective outer layer. The embryo (baby plant), and a food supply to feed the embryo while it germinates. All that information is contained in those tiny little packages. Mind-blowing.

Most seeds will begin germination when they get wet. Some need a certain temperature outside to germinate. Some need to be chewed on by an animal. Seeds know when the time is right.

You can follow planting guides for your zone but it is also fun to plant things at random times of the year and see what happens especially as our climate is shifting and changing. I’ve grown a lot of things out of season.

Storing seeds is a great way to secure our food options. There are a lot of heirloom seed swaps online. You can share the seeds you’ve saved from your crops with others and get new seeds to try for yourself. This is a great way to continue biodiversity and store plants to grow at a later date.

Start with seeds from a reputable source and watch them grow.

3) You know what you are working with from the start

Starting with seed allows you to follow the process from start to finish. You know you are getting pesticide-free plants when you start from seed because you are following their life cycle. Big box or nursery plants had a long life before they found you so who knows what was sprayed on them.

You don’t need pesticides with healthy plants and healthy plants start with healthy soil. Starting with a deep rich black or brown soil is a good idea.

Remember as you water your plants all those nutrients are taken up by the plant. You will know this is happening because the soil actually starts to change color and gets lighter. When the soil color gets lighter you want to give it more nutrients in the form of additional organic soil, compost, fish emulsion, or worm castings. It is best to stay away from the chemical fertilizers for you and the plant.

Starting with heirloom, organic, or Non-GMO seeds is the best place to begin. Use a nice compost or organic potting soil for good drainage and nutrients. Stay away from the chemical potting soil and things that say they push the growth of your plants. You don’t want to push or stimulate the growth of your plants. You want them to grow as they would naturally so you get the best end product.

Not only does starting with seed help reduce pesticides in your garden but it also reduces the pesticide runoff that happens. That pesticide runoff lands in our water systems and causes great damage to our health so we want to stop using pesticides and chemical fertilizers asap.

Go natural it has worked for millions of years and will continue to do so. We just need to follow the laws of nature.

Start from seed and watch it grow.

Can you think of other reasons to start from seed? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Plant something from seed today and watch it grow.

Plant Power On,

Stephanie

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