Every morning, the first thing I see when I open my eyes are my houseplants, and I think, “Wow, you’re still alive!” I am not sure why this should surprise me, especially because I take care of my plants and they are healthy. In fact, by exemplifying an effortless collaboration with their surroundings through working with the water, soil and light to grow just as they are, I often think the plants take care of me as much as I take care of them.
I have been curious about gardening some vegetables or herbs. Although my experience with growing houseplants is enough to start gardening vegetables, I do not have enough space — I only have a stoop and my room to “garden” in. So, I began my search for methods of growing food with limited space. After speaking with other student gardeners and doing some online research, I found two promising methods to start with.
Hanging Tomato Plant
You can conserve space using this method as the plant is growing from a hole at the bottom of the pot. You can start growing a tomato plant using a hanging food grade container — a bucket is common and some restaurants are willing to give them out. Drill an approximately two inch diameter hole at the bottom of the container and line the hole using a piece of fabric, such as landscaping fabric with an opening large enough for the plant to go through. Place the sprouted tomato — a recommended variety is the tumbling tom — through the hole and fill the container with soil. You can also use the top of the container to plant something else, such as herbs.
Self-watering containers are worth a try for forgetful or busy people who cannot keep a daily watering schedule. Self-watering containers can be a variety of shapes and sizes. They use two containers — one holds the water and one holds the water receiving container. Plant the seed or sprout into a soil filled container with holes in the bottom and place the container into another container partially filled with water. You can use an upside down water bottle cut in half to house the sprout and a cup to hold the water.
UC Santa Cruz Demeter Seed Library
The UC Santa Cruz Demeter Seed Project aims to preserve biodiversity not only by collecting organic heirloom seeds but also by “lending” them to gardeners. Heirloom seeds differ from hybrid seeds in that they preserve the unique genetic traits of the plant, hence helping pass on genetic diversity. Often the seeds are adjusted to the local climate as well, which can help make the growing process easier for the gardener and the plant. In addition, the produce can smell and taste distinctly flavorful. The project asks that the borrower returns about 20 times the amount of seeds borrowed, which is easier than it sounds.