I am a mom of two who tries to eat healthily, but I'm an everything-in-moderation kind of gal. I cook, bake treats and make my own ice cream. I believe that food grown without pesticides is better for my family, but the produce I buy isn't always organic.
Sometimes organic options aren't available, or the price is much higher than the conventionally grown option—again, everything in moderation.
My Foray into Gardening
My family and I live in New England. We have a couple of raised-bed gardens in our backyard, and the growing season is late spring through fall. When my husband and I started vegetable gardening, we treated it as a hobby, never really thinking we could grow enough vegetables to impact what we buy at farmers markets, grocery stores or local farm stands.
I Tried Growing from Seed
I attempted to grow strawberries from seed this year. First, I started them too late. Second, the seed packet said something about fertilizer. So, I schlepped my three-year-old son to the hardware store to buy organic fertilizer. First, it's not a good idea to take a three-year-old into any store, especially one with tools. Second, I got to the gardening section, and there were a few types of organic fertilizer. I had no idea which one to buy. When you're shopping with a child, you just don't have a lot of time to read packages. I grabbed the organic fertilizer for vegetables with the prettiest packaging and went on my way. Going forward, I'm going to skip starting from seeds altogether because I have more success with seedlings. Plus, it's hard to start from seed indoors in New England in a small house without several grow lights.
How I Discovered Planted Places
I learned about Planted Places through a job advertisement. The company needed a writer, and I applied for the job. I didn't know that vegetable gardening subscriptions even existed before I started working with Planted Places. I wasn't sure it was for me because I'm not really into subscriptions. But the company's promise was enticing—newbie gardeners can successfully grow their own leafy greens, herbs and even some fruits and veggies like tomatoes and peppers. In addition, you garden without chemicals, which is exactly how I want to grow food.
When Christy Ross, Planted Places' founder, asked me if I would like to try container gardening and become a Planted Places member, I jumped at the opportunity.
Container Vegetable Gardening The Planted Places Way
I received my first shipment in two boxes—one contained soil, soil amendments, plant markers, sturdy felt pots and harvesting clippers. The other box had six live seedlings. I only chose to receive six plants because we're already caring for a couple of raised beds, and I didn't want to bite off more greens than I can chew. But you can increase the number of plants you get in your monthly subscription. I received parsley, two varieties of basil and three varieties of lettuce.
Everything You Need to Garden is in the Box
I didn't really know what soil amendments were before working with Planted Places. But it all made sense when I opened my box. Amendments are things you add to the soil to help your plants grow. Planted Places' amendments include organic additives, such as oyster shells and alfalfa meal—nature's food for the soil.
My box came with three additions. Each one was labeled with instructions on what to do it. I followed the instructions and planted my plants. Now all I have to do is water them. We're experiencing a heatwave where I live, so I water my plants in the morning and evening.
When I first received my plants, they looked a little floppy due to being shipped across the country. However, it's been a couple of days since I planted them, and my seedlings perked right up.
The potting soil Planted Places sent looks and feels different than the potting soil I bought at the store. Soil is vital to Planted Places, and I know the team spent a lot of time researching the best type for growing vegetables in containers. The soil seems to hold water better than the stuff that I bought.
Since I'm a member of Planted Places, I've seen what other members are growing in their containers and Vertical Wall gardens. They go out and harvest what they need for a salad or smoothie. There's less waste because nothing is wilting away in the fridge. I'm guilty of buying greens and forgetting about them until they're no longer edible. But if I'm like other Planted Places members, I won't need to buy greens at the store during the growing season because I'll harvest just what I need. I may be increasing the number of plants I receive in the future.
No Prior Gardening Experience Needed
One of the reasons I was hesitant to vegetable garden was that I thought there was a steep learning curve. But Planted Places solves that problem. As a Planted Places member, Christy and her team walk me through how to garden the easy way. They offer videos and tutorials and answer my questions in a private Facebook group. I don't have to search the internet to figure it out. I'll likely continue to grow my own food because I know Planted Places will help me do it successfully.
Final Thoughts About Container Gardening With Planted Places
So far, I haven't had to do much other than water my plants, and it's been really easy to container garden with Planted Places. I love that I didn't have to pick up tools, soil or fertilizer from the store. I think it's amazing to grow my own greens and herbs for salads.
Planted Wall Vertical Gardening System
Another cool thing is that the company offers the Planted Wall, a vertical gardening system that is self-watering and self-fertilizing. If my container plants continue to thrive, I'll be signing up to grow more with the Wall!