How to plant an indoor succulent garden

I love having plants in every room of my house and succulents are my new favorites. I happened to buy a few really tiny succulents last month and decided to make a mini garden for them. I've been growing more succulents lately because they are basically the perfect house plant since they require so little care. All you have to do is water them once a week or even less and they'll be happy!

Tutorial for succulent bowl garden.

Succulents grow pretty slowly as far as houseplants go. This is great if you want to put them into little terrariums, succulent gardens, fairy gardens or even small wall planters. Since they grow slowly they don't outgrow their container too quickly, so they won't need repotted often.

I had a plastic bowl I wanted to use for this project. It's from the dollar tree, though many other retailers carry these. Planting succulents in a solid bowl is a little more difficult that a traditional pot with drainage holes. Since water can't escape the bowl you need to be very careful about not over watering your succulents.

How to keep your produce fresh longer

Gardening is an amazing way to get fresh produce for very cheap but it has one downfall, everything is ready at the same time! We quickly go from 1 tomato finally being ripe to 3 boxes full and leaving extras on our neighbors porches. We're not even gonna talk about zucchini! Unfortunately produce spoils so we either have to use it up, put it up or help extend it's freshness longer.

Proper produce storage

When I first got into the real world I was surprised that my roommate kept things in the refrigerator like potatoes, onions and tomatoes. My grandparents had always kept those on the counter or in a potato bin and that's the way I thought it was supposed to be. Turns out my gardener grandpap knew exactly what he was doing.

Certain fruits and vegetables do better in the cold and others do better at room temp. For instance, many people think that refrigerating tomatoes makes they ripen slower, which is sorta true but it also weakens their flavor if kept under 55°F. This creates mealy tomatoes that you don't want to eat anyway. For this reason you never put a tomato in the refrigerator unless it's already ripe.

Of course other fruits and vegetables will go bad really quickly if left on the counter. So how do you store fresh produce for optimum freshness and taste?

Vegetables that grow in under 60 days

Every year I get asked "which vegetables will be ready for harvest earliest?" by new gardeners. I get it. Gardening is a waiting game and it's nice to see results quickly, especially when you're just starting. Many vegetables take 3 months or more and it can be frustrating! I have compiled a list of vegetables and fruits that will be ready to harvest in under two months.

List of fast growing vegetables

These dates are calculated from the day they sprout from seed, or in the case of strawberries, break dormancy. If you have a garden center or nursery near by and chose to buy your plants already started you'll be slightly ahead of the timeline, usually by at least 2 weeks. Unfortunately most I've talked to aren't expecting plants till mid April though, so you'll be on almost the same timeline if you start seeds right now.

You're going to have to read tags or seed packages when choosing the different seeds to buy, as each one can have a different time frame. If you're new to home gardening varieties simply means the group of plants within a species that has one or more distinguishing characteristics. While looking for a type of tomato or carrot, one might be looking for a variety that has a certain texture, flavor or grow time. In this case, you'll be looking at grow time when selecting your seeds.

For instance Early Girl tomatoes only take about 50 days for the first fruits to be ready. Brandywine tomatoes take 90 days. As you can see that leaves a large margin for error if you just grab a pack of tomato seeds without reading it! Generally that is nothing more than a little annoying, you just wait a few more weeks for those plants to produce. 

Taking Care of Houseplants During Winter

Taking care of houseplants in winter is just a little trickier than during the warmer months. Oh sure they still need water and sunlight but they have a few other requirements during the colder months. Ample light can be hard to come by and might need supplemented. Also fertilizer isn't needed nearly as much.

houseplants in sunny window during winter

Temperature fluctuations can also be a problem especially if the plant is near a drafty window or in direct line of a door that's opened frequently. On the other hand being too close to the heater vents can be bad for plants too. Keep in mind that many houseplants are actually tropical plants and that is exactly why they do so well in constant 70°F temperatures all year round. They're just not built to tolerate blasts of hot or cold!

Want epic Basil? Grow it in pots!

Basil is definitely my favorite herb! I eat it fresh, dried and pretty much in anything I can. Since I use so much basil it only makes sense that I grow my own basil year round. What also makes sense is that I grow basil in pots so I can move it indoors in winter, then back outside in warmer weather. I keep my basil thriving year round so there's always plenty to eat.

Grow amazing basil plants

Basil comes in many different varieties, each one having a unique flavor and medicinal properties. My favorite type so far has been Basil Genovese, though I have tried many types over the years!One of the most popular varieties is Ocimum basilicum commonly called sweet basil. Sweet basil has inch-long, oval-pointed, dark green leaves and a clove-pepperish odour and taste.

Another popular variety  of basil is a purple-leafed variety. ‘Dark Opal’ is decorative, makes a lovely houseplant, and is equally useful in cookery. 

Often called the ‘king of herbs,’ basil can be grown indoors or out. I do both.