Let me begin with a simple admission.  I don’t know much about gardening.  Until a few weeks ago, I had never planted a seed, or maintained houseplants.  My thumbs weren’t green, they were red and swollen from playing Xbox.  I had never given much thought to the source of the fresh food I consume or its impact, but recently I’ve started to experiment with growing my own.

office_CU

I live in the city and although I have a small yard, I have to occasionally share it with a family of local raccoons and other creatures.  After several attempts at raising outdoor crops which accomplished little more than providing raccoon snacks, I decided to move my efforts indoors.

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Two south-facing window spots offered enough sun and so I started experimenting.  Within days the various plants were all responding well and so the experiments grew.

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lv_garden

Traditional flower pots and planters were soon replaced by big black plastic storage bins from Office Depot which were less expensive and more efficient.  I MacGuvered some one-gallon water bottles into hanging topsy turvy-style planters and tried a variety of vines, including tomatoes, pole beans, cucumbers and peppers.

office_hanging

Hanging crops above other plants is a great way to maximize the amount of growing space and conserve water, and it wasn’t long before the notion of “hanging water bottles” was upgraded and replaced by a complete garden row of inverted plants, all in black bins with holes drilled in them, effectively doubling the garden size.  (12 ft by 1.5 ft)

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cuke

Initial harvests have been small as I figure out what crops work, but so far have I’ve enjoyed basil, tomatoes, romaine, yellow and burgundy beans and one tiny potato.

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royalBurg

potato

Current crops include more tomatoes, peppers, beans and cukes, plus butter lettuce, onions, sugar snap peas, bok choy, blueberries, strawberries, and a meyer lemon tree.

garden row

snappeas

PART 2) More images and details here.

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Altoids_garden

Everyone seems to be putting their DIY projects into Altoids tins and other candy containers.  I’ve been collecting these small containers for a while but didn’t have a use for them until now.  The Altoids Garden.

These tiny succulents cuttings and small herbs seem to be thriving in organic potting soil.  I water them a few times a day.

A single cutting in organic soil covered with black stones.  A tiny bonsai in a promotional CD case.  They will likely stay small with such a small volume of soil.  They should be misted a few times a day but don’t overwater.  A light covering of stones will help keep the soil moist.  Perfect for the office.

I really know very little about plants. However, all of these small succulents are native to Northern CA and are very hearty. I plucked them out of my yard like weeds. They require minimal care and watering. The Banzai were chosen based on small size. I have one that is a Pine, and a few others I don’t know. I also grew cat grass and other sprouting seeds. The only plant that didn’t last long were the herbs, because they need to grow – the succulents and Banzai are content to remain small.

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