Create a Small-Space Edible Garden | Laura Foreman | Skillshare

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Create a Small-Space Edible Garden

teacher avatar Laura Foreman, Gardener. Writer. Photographer.

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Lesson 1


    • 3.

      Lesson 2


    • 4.

      Lesson 3


    • 5.

      Lesson 4


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About This Class

Whether out of necessity or to just try something new, more people are becoming interested in gardening. However, many people may feel intimidated or that they can't grow the food they want to because they don't have a big enough yard for a garden or they live in an apartment or condo and have to grow on a patio or balcony.

Gardening is in my blood. I grew up helping my mom tend our garden and harvest fruits and vegetables. We didn't have a lot of money so the garden was a way to save money on the grocery bill during the peak growing times of the year. When I moved out on my own and lived in apartments and rental homes, I continued growing my favorite vegetables and flowers on the balcony or deck. It helped me save money and was overall an enjoyable hobby.

This class is about creating a small space edible garden, with a focus on container gardening. It's perfect for renters, people who live in apartments or condos or those who don't have the space (or time) to dedicate to a big garden.

It'll cover:

  • containers--pros and cons of each type
  • location pointers and issues
  • tips for veggie growing--what grows best in your area,
  • companion planting to keep pests away and nurture beneficial insects (with PDF chart of most popular combinations)
  • planning and considerations (e.g., grouping plants with similar watering requirements together, thinking of size issues, etc.) This will also show how to plan.
  • a video showing the planting of one of the most common veggie combinations: tomatoes and basil (maybe parsley, too).
  • Resources including books, websites, seed company links.

The project will be two parts

  • Part 1: Creating a garden plan. Students will draw their plan, whether it's in a container or a group of containers. They can take a photo and post it.
  • Part 2: Post a picture of the container garden.

Meet Your Teacher

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Laura Foreman

Gardener. Writer. Photographer.


Writer by trade; gardener by blood. Growing up, I helped my mom in the garden--weeding, planting and eating much of the harvest before it reached the kitchen. When I left the nest, I continued to garden, this time in containers, at each of the apartments I lived. I've learned a lot along the way through trial-and-error and tapping into the knowledge of other gardeners.

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1. Introduction: Hi, everyone. My name is Lauren. This course is all about creating a small space edible garden. Many of us want a grown veggies fruit herbs, but feel that we don't have the space to dedicate a growing a huge garden that would sustain us. But what if I told you that you could grow most of your favorite produce and pots on the patio, on a deck or in a sunny window sill? Don't let space hold you back from growing your favorite healthy treats. Until about a year ago, when we bought the house with some land, I garden out of containers at each of the places that we had rented, including a house and a few apartments, I grew the basics such as lettuce, tomato, sunflowers, pole beans and a variety of herbs like basil, cilantro and parsley. I even grew lemons and nectarines out of pots. In this course, I'll share what I have learned over the years and offer tips to help you maximize your harvest within a limited space. Your project for the course will break down into two separate assignments. An assignment wine. You'll create a plan for your garden marking where each plant will go on, keeping in mind the characteristics of the plants as well as the water in like requirements of each. They don't have to create a complicated super detail plan unless you want to. As you can see in mine, it's just a super basic sketch for assignment to You'll create your container garden with the plants of your choosing. Here's a photo of the container that I created with tomatoes and basil, which will be shown in less than three. So that's it. Let's get gardening. 2. Lesson 1: in this lesson, we'll talk about choosing your site and choosing the right containers for your garden. So the first thing is, they're huge, too. Huge considerations to make before you start planting anything. Number one. What do your growing goals? In short, what do you hope to get out of it? They re growing vegetables to sustain yourself in your family throughout the summer. In the growing season. Do you just want to keep your favorites on hand to save yourself a trip to the store? Maybe why you're in the middle of making dinner, or do you wanna try your hand at growing vegetables? You can't find a store in the farmer's market. The second thing to consider is how much space do you have? You'd be amazed by how much you can grow in a small space. Many people think they need this huge plot of land, but if you play in your garden well, you can enjoy a variety of fresh produce, regardless of how much space or lack of space that you have. When I lived in an apartment, my balcony was probably about four foot by 5.5 feet, six feet and I was able to produce all the tomatoes, basil, green, being sunflower seeds, lettuce that I could ever dream of. And I also had some roses and a few other flowering plants to. So don't let your what you perceive is your lack of space. Limit us toe what as far as what you can grow. If you're planting outdoors in the ground, use raised beds. You'll save yourself a ton of aggravation with weeds, critters as well as back in the pain. If you do raised beds, use garden soil from your local store, the local nursery, or contact your seed to see if they offer topsoil for free or at minimal cost. Many cities will offer compost, topsoil, all that kind of stuff, usually through the waist apartment. Where. Waste Management department. So just give him a call, go on their website, see who handles that kind of stuff and give him a call and see what you can score for free . Because any way to save money is fantastic. I was able to score a truckload full of topsoil from my city for free that I use in a small four foot by four foot raised bed that my husband had built me. So always looking into those little deals to see what you can get for free or low cost. If you're growing in containers, think about where you'll put thumb. If you're growing indoors, put the containers in front of the sunniest window in your home or the window that gets the most sun all day. Just take a walk throughout your throughout the apartment or condo and just know where the sun is and how much space you have there. If you're going outside on the deck or balcony, find the sunniest location on that deck or balcony. But remember, the best thing about containers is that you can move them. So unlike a traditional garden, if the original place he put the containers isn't working out, you can move them to another location and you'll get a workout at the same time. Do a couple dead lifts and get your heart pumping while you're moving those containers to a better location, or you can also move them throughout the day. So where they start in the morning, maybe when you come home from work, you can move them to a different part of the balcony where they'll get more sun during the end of the day. So choosing your containers, um, here three of the most common types of containers. But you're not limited to these icy containers made from old mailboxes or even old used tires. So I mean, there's a lot of room for creativity here. If you buy your pots from the story, often find Claire plastic varieties, and sometimes you can score a wood planter at the store. If you go to a nursery or if you have a super handy woodworking friend, they all have their advantages and disadvantages. Clay is a classic, and you could paint in. There's a lot of creativity there. However, if you plant a water intensive plant in a clay pot, then you'll need toe water it more often because the water tends to evaporate out of it. They're also more fragile. So if you have a dog or a cat or a very rambunctious toddler, you have to be careful because all of them will break it. Plastic is super sturdy. It's cheaper than the other two options, but they tend to hold water in, and if the pots are darker, color than the heat can damage the roots. Will planters give off a more rustic five them plastic or Clayton planters or pots? And you can often reuse or salvage would to create them yourself or have somebody make them for you as long as you know where the wood came from. However, keep in mind that salvage wood or reused wood, or even some of the planters on the market now may have been treated with preservatives to keep them from rotting. And while this may be okay for maybe a flower garden, it's not ideal for an edible garden where you're gonna be eating whatever you grow within that planter. So instead, look for wooden planters that are made from teak, cedar, redwood or Cyprus. Because all of these tree types are naturally rot resistant, and so chances are they haven't been treated with preservatives before they're put on the market. But again, make sure you read the label just to be on the safe side. Finally, it's fun to mix and match your containers. Chances are you won't buy all of your pots at once. You'll probably by maybe two or three pots here, and then you'll pick up some other plants, starts or see some seeds, and then you'll buy another pot. Ah, while you're there picking up the picking up the vegetables. So once you get started planting, you may find that you're making more impulse buys when you see an interesting plant. I know I've done that a 1,000,000 times. Don't be afraid to get creative with their containers. There's nothing that says everything has to be uniform or the same shade or the same shape or anything like that. Unless that's your style, in which case go for it, you can mix and match it. It all looks fantastic. So that's it for lesson. One lesson to We'll talk more about plants and your first assignment. 3. Lesson 2: again. Everyone in this lesson will get to the best part of the whole process, and that is the plants. So sure you have plants that you want to grow in mind. However, there are a few things to consider. First, it may seem obvious, but you'll have the best luck with plants that grow well in your area. But it doesn't mean that your dream of hot peppers and tomatoes or dash. If you live in a cooler climate, just go to your plant nursery and ask about varieties that grow well in your area. Chances are there's probably a tomato or pepper that grows off the charts wherever you live . Another thing to consider is what will you actually eat, what vegetables through nerves do you use the most? You know, if I love zucchini and I thought of all the wonderful things I can do is zucchini. And then I grew four plants of it. Now, anybody who's growing zucchini knows that zucchini is a very abundant plant. Even if you dream of zucchini bread and zucchini relish and pickled zucchini and zucchini, stir fry or even stuffed zucchini flowers, you'll get more than enough zucchini from one or two plants, there's no need to go overboard. I mean, we couldn't give the zucchini away fast enough, so I learned my lesson there. But on the other hand, we did go through a ton of lettuce, onions, garlic, basil and parsley. So I focused on growing as much of that as I can. It's nice to be able to walk out and pick a lemon or a few figs off a tree just because you live in a. It's nice to be able to walk out onto your balcony or patio and pick a lemon or a few figs off the tree. Just because you have limited space for plants doesn't mean that you can't grow fruit chews varieties that are adapted specifically for pots or small spaces, so commentaries that are great in pots or small spaces include figs and olives, which grow as well in pots as they do on the ground. There will be a high on the same token, though, there are specific varieties that will be as plentiful lemons. Meyer lemons are perfect for that because they're more shrubby. I had a regular lemon tree that I grew and it stayed in a pot for a couple of years, and it's as happy it was as happy. And, uh, pies it is now on the ground and same thing with nectarines at a nectarine tree to and that's now on the ground. But for about three seasons, I had it in a pot, and it didn't grow any bigger than the pot would allow. So just keep that in mind. If you wanna include fresh fruit in your container garden, just do a little research and and, uh, you'll probably find the perfect variety for you. Here is the U. S. D. A plant hardiness zone, Matt. It's a really helpful tool, tohave, especially if you're ordering plants online. Usually, if you'll look at a plate tag, you'll see this plant is hardy up his own, you know, four. Or this is this plant is hardy from zones uh, 3 to 10. That's what this is referring to. So the link is at the bottom of the slide, and then it's also on The resource is pdf, so definitely refer to it. It's really, really helpful tohave, and it'll save you a lot of aggravation and ah, in frustration. In the end, seeds or starts. Some folks swear by seeds and other people swear by starts. I've done both in their advantages and disadvantages to bowl. But a lot of it boils down to your personal preference and how patient you are. Some plants grow so quickly that there's no point in buying starts. For example, bok choy, radishes and even some types of lettuce grow super quick, and so you're only looking at bare soil for maybe a week and 1/2 2 weeks tops. However, the big advantage of buying starts is that they give your garden a head start, and you know exactly where you planted things, which comes in handy if you're using, you know, top soil from the city or anything else that could possibly have weeds in it. It saves you from having to play the game of Is that a sprout or weed? I can't tell you how many times I have accidentally pulled Sprout, thinking he was a weed and then realized once I pulled it. Oh, wait, that's a sprout. And I wanted that there again. It's a personal preference. I mean, if you want to grow certain heirloom tight plants, then you might have to go a seed, and that's fun. If you have patients and don't mind looking at dirt for a few weeks until stuff starts growing, then seeds are good for you. But if you're more impatient, you're like, I want my plants now, then definitely go with starts. Some plants play very well together, which is why it's common to plant flowers or other veggies in with one another. Flowers at a little bit of color to the container, as well as a little bit of texture, which makes it more interesting to look at. They also try beneficial insects to your garden like ladybugs, butterflies, bees, all the good bugs that to keep all the bad bugs like you're a Fiddes at bay. They may even keep certain plant diseases that day as well. A good rule of thumb that I've found over the years is that they taste good together. They'll probably go well together as well. Spanish and strawberries taste delicious together in a salad and also help one another. One plants it together same thing with tomatoes and basil or even tomatoes, basil and parsley all of more delicious. And they all tend to help each other out when grown together When all else fails. Plant marigolds A lot of bugs hate the son of marigolds, and miracles are super cheap and easy to propagate, because when the flower dies off, you just pull out the season. Replant them in your soil so you can just keep the cycle of keeping pests at bay going throughout the whole growing season, so you may not be sure what to plant with what. So here is a list of common companion plants, and it's also available in a pdf forms. You can print it off and take it with you when you go to the plant nursery or wherever. Ah, flowers like mayor golds like I said before, and distortions and some flowers are great. Go to plants when your companion planting because they tend to help out other plants. Plus, they're not too shabby to look at, and so they'll give you the most bang for your buck. These are the most common plants that people grow when they're growing veggies. So beings beets, broccoli, carrots, radishes, tomatoes. So hopefully this will be a good resource for you as your thinking about and beginning to plant your container. So now we've come to your first assignment. Ah, you're going to plan your container. Garden planning helps you figure out where you want to put things that you don't have to dig anything up later on. It's also helpful to have a plans that you know what's planted wear in case you lose your identification markers or your want to be helpful. Tyler pulls out all of the tags and lines and looked like toy soldiers in one pot. And it's not the pot that you planted the stuff in. Keep in mind the average height of the plants you plan to grow as well as lighten watering requirements. Try to put tall plants toward the back of the pot and shorter plants in the fronts that they all get some light and nobody's crowded and grew. Plants with similar lighten water requirements together to prevent pest problems, disease or growing problems. And the tide that comes with your plant starts and the seed packets will give you all of this information. Here's a sample of a container garden plan. You don't have to do it like this. It's just the guidelines get you thinking about your own garden. In this example, I am planting in a redwood planter, and so I included the dimensions of the planter. And then I also included abbreviations of what I'm gonna plant within that planter. Maybe a specific er's general, as you want you can include. You know your fertilizer you want to use if you're using different soil amendments, what soil you use. If you want to include other little notes and stuff like that, it's all up to you. The assignment is to plan your container garden, so Bs creative as you want you can be, is general is I was remember, just a guideline. Or if you are more creative or can draw, um, then feel free to have a more visual representation of your garden. 4. Lesson 3: hi, everyone said. Now that we know about containers, plants, companion planting and planning, let's put it all together. We're gonna put together a tomato and basil container planter. Here is our redwood box planter that I got from a friend of ours. We have to read pair cherry tomato plants, and then we have three basil plants, including a Mrs Burns lemon basil plant, which is heavenly, super lemony. We have some organic local potting soil and a few of our tools, like a hand shovel ajar. Some water in our container plan, and I'm wearing gloves because I'm pregnant, but also because it's always handy to wear gloves so you don't get dirt under your nails. So let's get started. I typically fill the container about halfway with soil first, which will give the plant some stability. When I place them in the container, they can shovel some dirt with a jar into the planter. Or, if you're impatient like I am, you could just pour some of it in an eyeball it and then we'll smooth it all out, see kind of smooth, and then next will take the plants out of their black plastic pots. Sometimes When you buy plants from the store, they're what's called root bound, meaning that you'll see roots poking out of the bottom of the pot. It's usually a sign that they've been there a while. So even if you're starts aren't root bound, you still want to squeeze and work the plan loose from the pot for your thumb and forefinger on the base of the plant and gently pull the plant out of the pot in, loosen the roots. This will help them catch in the once they're in the dirt, and it'll help them grow a lot better with tomato plants. It's also really handy to remove the bottom couple leaves. I think there's a reason for doing it. I can't remember why. I've just always done it. It seems to help the plants grow, so why not do it so up all the plants at other pots and remember toe work those roots loose with your hand. Remember, the routes have been cooped up in the container for, you know, weeks or so so working that will encourage them to spread out a bit and will improve the health of the plant. So you're placing the plants in the respective spots in the planter. When it's like this, if you notice in your plan that maybe oh, maybe these plants should be situated in a certain way, at least you can move them before you put all the dirt in and it becomes a little bit messier toe. Correct it. - So right here I'm using the jar to put more soil in to fill it in, and you can use a shovel. You can use your hand use single use yogurt cups are actually also really handed for scooping soil. And if you don't want to get to two dirty, it's a good time to note that it's important to make sure that the plants will fit in the pot. You choose, uh, take some soil out or upsides the pot. If the base of the plant is higher than the top of the container, it's not good to smash the plant down to make it fit, even though it's super attempting to do so, and I've probably done it with flowers before, but it's not a good idea as you're pouring soil in to fill in the bare spots to leave about an inch or half inch space between the top of the planter and the soil. Some soil will splash out when you water, especially if the soil is dry, so this will give it a little bit of a buffer zone in this container. I'll probably leave a few inches, Um, instead of just wanted just because it's a personal preference. But leaving a little bit of space will prevent a mess later on. Trust me. Remember that any time you transplant plants important toe water afterwards, so planting and transplanting can be stressful for some plants. So think about how much you create a beer or another yummy beverage when you're stressed out after you move. That's how your plants feel, because they've been caught up in those black plastic pots for who knows how long. Give them nice drink of water in the Give it a few hours and then they'll perk up a bit. So now we have a planted to meet him. A visa with container plant. Make sure you put your planter in a sunny spot and then clean up the mess afterwards, so the other is to it. Now let's move on to some helpful resource is in your second assignment 5. Lesson 4: Paige and everyone we've reached the end. Yea, in this lesson will go over some resource is, and I'll give you a few extra tips to get you started. So here are a bunch of resource is Here's a list of books, magazines and websites I found helpful, along with some seed companies that I regularly use for books of included carrots, love tomatoes, which is all about complete companion gardening. Uh, grow your own vegetables by Carol Client, which is a book that my father lost swears by, and I found it pretty useful as well and grow great grub, which has been super useful to me, especially when I was growing in a small space. Um, I mean, they're all really useful, but that one, especially if you're planting in a container or a small patio or whatever, like she really breaks down, uh, what to plant, how to plant it. The good and the bad and the ugly of certain plants that you probably want to grow have also included Organic Life magazine, which used to be organic gardening. But now they've included other things. Urban Farm magazine is interesting to look at, and they always include hat helpful of handy tips was a short magazine, but but it's relatively new, but I found it useful. And then modern farmer is just a gorgeous magazine to look at. I mean the photos air amazing in itself. It also included a few helpful websites. I mean, there are tons of gardening websites out there, so I mean, you could probably find some amazing ones. You grow. Girl is ah was created and is kept up by the same woman who wrote Grow great grub so that maybe one that you wanna consult. I find myself always consulting house every day. There's usually a gardening related article, and at the beginning of the month they publish a things to do this month list, which is broken down by your region of the country. So I have found that one most helpful myself. But again, um, you know the Royal Horticultural Society of UK Kitchen Gardeners, International Mother, Earth news, garden guides, even Google. If you have questions, google it and or being it. If you use Bing, and you can usually find an answer pretty quickly if you want to learn more about plants and plant varieties, get on the mailing list of the seed companies or your local seed company to that quick Google search or being search will help you find your local seed companies. The Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Company catalogue is gorgeous. Whoever does the they're writing and they're they're photography genius. They carry a lot of heirloom varieties, so if you want to grow something a little bit different, then there your company, Johnny's and Territorial are also great looking to see companies that are basing your area because they typically have a wide selection of plants that are best adapted to your region . It's that you can be 98% sure that will grow. So here are a few extra tips that I've learned over the years. Number one. Be patient. Gardening is a test of patients, especially when you're growing from seed. For some plants will be looking at dirt for a few weeks until you see the sprout, and when you do see us for out, you will be so elated you'll probably don't for joy, growing takes time, so enjoy the process. Secondly, gardening is trial and error. Sometimes seeds won't come up. Other times, your plants will get a disease and you know no and you won't know what to dio. Despite all of your attention and care, plant may die when you get a sudden cold snap or a heat wave or some random plant disease or infestation of a bug. I mean, you can't There's not really a whole lot you can do about It doesn't make you a failure. It doesn't mean that you have a black thumb and you should just give up. You're not destined to become a serial plant killer. If this happens, just trying it with another plant. Learned the lesson. Do better next time. That's all you can really dio. Don't dwell. Keep a journal. I have a journal from Moulds, skin or moleskin or however it's pronounced that's specifically designed for gardeners or space for notes about the plants. Garden inspiration. And there's grid paper to play in your garden out. But irregular notebook works, too. Take notes about your plants, not their water and sun requirements. This also help you remind you when you water last. If you I can't remember you write anything down. I usually write down when I see the first fruit appear so that I can temper my aunt seen us the following year. If I decide to go that plant again, and if a player is impacted by a disease, notice that you can prevent it next year. If you end up with a huge harvest of zucchini that you don't know what to do with right down to grow fewer plants, sex time, things like that or if there's a point you absolutely love. But it's too late to grow it this year noted so that you can purchase it next year. Finally, taking photos is important to help you maintain perspective. When you see your containers every day, it may not look like anything's changing, but if you take photos every week or so, then you can compare them and be wowed by your awesome plant growing skills. So onto assignment to I want to see what you're growing So now onto assignment to I want to see what you're growing. I want to see if you put your plan into action and what changes you may have made. So post a picture of your container garden and let me see what you have going on. Plus, you're awesome containers. Conservatives inspiration for other garden isas. Well, so that's it. Email me if you have any questions and I look forward to seeing everyone's gardens happy growing.