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Gardening 101

eKo tie holding a tomatoe plant to a garden stake


Recently, there has been a shift in the way humans obtain and consume our daily meals. A sit-down meal in a restaurant was most likely your first or second choice for dinner on a nice Saturday night, but that all changed with the pandemic. It’s triggered a local food movement—a ‘trend’ if you will (a trend with a mission to become everlasting!!). It’s safe to say that many people eat out or buy their food at the grocery store out of convenience and ease and that a common thought is that gardening is too time consuming and not worth the time, but you can make it easier on yourself by planning and prepping. Creating your own garden is no easy feat. It takes much trial and error but with a little preparation, you’ll be on your feet and have a beautiful garden blossoming in no time. The best part about gardening is how customizable it is, and how you can make it work for your individual routine.  


Why should you grow your own food? 

Not only does growing your own food helps you save money and lead a healthier lifestyle, but it also has many other unique benefits. By growing your own fruits and veggies, you are provided with the opportunity to become more environmentally sustainable. It is also significantly cheaper to buy and grow from seeds (flowers and veggies, especially). This can lead to less trips to and from the grocery store, helping you save money, time and energy. Not only that, but you also have control over your plants in terms of what nutrients they are getting, causing a reduction in pesticides and an increase in nutritious, fresh food. And if you’re like me, gardening is a GREAT hobby to satisfy your creative needs while spending time outdoors soaking up that Vitamin D.  


When you begin planning, ask yourself these questions: 

1. Where do I have room to plant (Indoor vs. Outdoor?)

-Benefits of indoors: improve air quality, reduces stress and helps immunity

-Benefits of outdoors: more room outdoors, project materials are mostly free or from nature, and takes up no space inside 
2. What kind of plants do I want to grow? 
3. What kinds of food do you eat and cook with?  
4. Is there enough light and room in your designated garden spot? 
5. How much time do you want to spend gardening? 


There are a few things you need to take into consideration when choosing the type of plants to grow. First off, think about the types of plants you want to grow, and then think about the foods you cook with and eat on a regular basis. These are going to be great options to add to your garden while simultaneously spending less weekly at the grocery store and staying environmentally friendly. You also want to be aware of when and the length of plant’s growing season. Once you have mapped out your garden, you can decide whether you want to start from scratch with seeds or with plants bought at a nursery. As a beginner, it is much easier to get your garden started with plants from nurseries. Buying plants from nurseries is easier for beginners as it gives the plant a good foundation for growth. The size of your garden is going to fluctuate how much time you spend tending to your plants.  

If you want to spend less than 5 hours a week gardening, opt for a small to medium herb, container vegetable or ornamental garden. 4 to 10 hours a week will give you enough time to tend to a small vegetable or ornamental garden or a medium-sized vegetable garden. And if you’re brave enough to spend 10 to 20 hours a week gardening, you could choose to grow a large vegetable or ornamental garden. 


Gardening Essentials: 

  1. Potting plants/planting area 
  2. Potting soil 
  3. Watering can/water access 
  4. Shovel and/or hoe  


What does a plant need to grow? 

The key ingredient in gardening is patience and education (there are SO many beginner-level books out there). Each plant has its own ‘personality’, like us humans. Some plants prefer direct sunlight or shade or need to be watered more often. Each plant is unique in what it requires daily, so this is important to note. For example, vegetables tend to be more prone to disease and insects than majority of other plants. Adequate levels of nutrients and water are also vital to the life of a plant. Stay away from acidic soils (most plants need a pH of 6.1 to 7, pH of 5.1 to 6 for more leafy greens.) Acidic soil dissolves the nutrients and bacteria cannot break down matter once the pH level is below 4.7. 

It is important to have a good source of water near where your garden is growing. Water with a watering can or sprinkler, since heavy pours increase your chances of harming your plants. Hot and drier temperatures tend to require more water, however, it’s much better for your plants to be given a lot of water at once, instead of a little bit every day. Once your garden has been planted, you want to consistently check for signs of pests or insects, nutrient deficiencies, over or under-watering, season changes, and animals in the area. 


PRO TIP: Do you find your plants are falling over or can’t stay up on their own? Use our eKotwists for plant stability or to hold up a fallen friend.  

PRO TIP: Once you are able to pick the food you’ve grown, wrap everything in Khala Cloths to keep the freshness of your food for 5 to 7 days longer!