Imagine being able to pick fresh lemons, limes and oranges right from your patio! Read more »
Cutting overgrown grasses by more than an inch or two at a time can create unhealthy brown and bald spots in your lawn – or ev... Read more »
Kids are eager gardeners. They love to experiment with colorful flowers, have an adventurous sense of design, and getting dirt... Read more »
Our Shear Ease® Grass Shears include a patented mechanism that prevents the blades from jamming or sticking when you’re trimmin... Read more »
The first time you try our PowerGear® Hedge Shears, you’ll be amazed — but it’s not magic, it’s gears. Our patented gear techno... Read more »
Our Easy-Pour Watering Can offers both capacity and control. The 2.6-gallon volume holds a generous amount of water that is eas... Read more »
Put your crafting skills to work and create a beautiful and unique fascinator that reflects your personal style. Read more »
“Painting” with tissue paper is not only fun but beautiful! Read more »
Mosaic tile frames are a beautiful way to display photos. Read more »
Designed for long, easy cuts down strips of Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that preve... Read more »
Add distinctive style to craft projects of all kinds with a Squeeze Punch that makes every embellishment up to 2X easier to pun... Read more »
Designed for tight, precise cuts through Duck® Tape, our Duck® Edition Detail Scissors feature a non-stick blade coating that p... Read more »
A colorful, roomy bag is just the thing you need to carry all your belongings for a day at the beach. Read more »
Keep the kids busy on a road trip with their own art bag full of inspiration and the essentials. Read more »
This easy pillowcase dress looks adorable with pretty fabrics. Plus, it is super simple to put together, even if you have not... Read more »
Only our Stitcher Scissors provide precision and control that meet the needs of the most demanding sewers and quilters. Micro-T... Read more »
Our Seamstress Scissors are the perfect all-purpose scissors for anyone who cuts fabric frequently. The smooth action of these... Read more »
Choose our Dressmaker Shears for long, smooth cuts through multiple layers of medium to heavy fabrics. Extra-long blades maximi... Read more »
Looking for a sure cure for bored kids - make sparkly sea creatures! Read more »
Open-ended activities like this Busy Book can keep kids occupied in the back seat of a car AND spark fun family conversations! Read more »
It doesn’t take much to turn an everyday snack into something a little extra special. It is great to see how quickly you can a... Read more »
Our Preschool Training Scissors features a special training lever that opens the blades after each cut, helping children learn... Read more »
Children love our Designer Non-stick Blunt-tip Kids Scissors for the colorful handle patterns that make cutting fun and the non... Read more »
Our Designer Non-stick Student Scissors are larger than our Kids Scissors but smaller than adult scissors, perfect for those ol... Read more »
The beautiful mood lighting of lanterns at outdoor gatherings is fabulous, so why not craft up a set to use this summer. Read more »
Treat your children to their own special tent hideaway, then stand back and watch as the fun and adventures begin! Read more »
Make a thoughtful gift for someone this summer! Read more »
The StaySharp™ Max Reel Mower combines patent-pending technology with superior ergonomics to deliver best-in-class cutting perf... Read more »
Great for beginners, the unique design of this tool makes cutting perfect shapes from fabric a breeze — since you’re not managi... Read more »
Perfect for a wide range of sewing and quilting tasks, our Amplify® RazorEdge™ Fabric Shears sense blade separation and force t... Read more »
You may not know even where to start. Apartments, college dorms and rental houses don’t provide much outdoor space—often only a patio or balcony.
Maybe, you’ve failed at gardening before—who hasn’t?—and it’s got you bugged. You think you can’t succeed, but you’re smart, witty and accomplished. I know you can.
Here are my five steps for success:
Step One: Ask yourself some questions before you begin.
What vegetables and herbs do I like best? Which are the most expensive in the grocery store, or don’t taste as good when shipped hundreds of miles across the country?
Don’t grow food you don’t like. If you’re unfamiliar with a particular vegetable, wait and grow it the following year after you have had success. Consider growing vegetables that are expensive to purchase in the grocery store.
What does my growing area look like? Does it get morning or afternoon sun? Is it covered or uncovered?
Vegetables need six to eight hours of sun to perform at their best. In southern gardens, for some plants, morning sun is best. If your patio or balcony is covered, you won’t get as much rainfall or sun. Search online or read seed packets and plant tags for more information on veggie requirements.
How will I water my plants?
Most vegetables need consistent irrigation to survive and thrive. Place them where they are easy to water, or you’ll find it hard going come summer. Since many apartments don’t have outside water spigots, you may need an attachment for your kitchen sink and a water hose long enough to stretch from the sink to where your plants are. You’ll also want somewhere to store that hose and a spray nozzle. I like the ones with selectable spray patterns. Quick connects for hoses are good too. If you only have a couple of pots, a quality watering can will work.
What type of container should I use?
This partially depends upon personal preference. Although I love glazed ceramic pots, I collected them over several years because they are pricey. They are also heavy and difficult to move about without a dolly. Plastic containers, including five-gallon buckets, work. Flexible, fabric pots like those shown below are fabulous because they can be folded and put away once gardening season ends.
Choose containers large enough to accommodate plant roots. In other words, don’t grow tomatoes in a small pot. Vining plants like squash can be trained vertically with trellises to give them room to grow.
Step Two: Stay small.
Take a list to your local nursery or box store and try to stay within your space limitations and price range. If you go too large, you’ll be frustrated mid-summer with a garden of neglected and/or dead plants. Start with a few containers and transplants, and build upon this framework later. For a jumpstart, purchase plants from your local nursery instead of seeds. Lettuce and other leafy vegetables grow well in containers from seed, but they are spring crops in much of the country.
Step Three: Get the low down on potting soils and choose an organic, local brand, if possible.
Know what goes into your potting soil. If you’re concerned about the sustainability of peat bogs, do some research beforehand. Peat moss is the base of most potting soils.
Step Four: Gather your tools.
• Fiskars Garden Shears to open the bag of potting soil and other chores.
• Fiskars Big Grip Transplanter
• Potting soil
• Garden gloves, if you want them, and
Loosen plant roots and place vegetables and herbs at the same level they were before in their small pot. Water plants until soil is moist, but not soggy. Unless you get plenty of rain, and your planting area is uncovered, you’ll need to water pots daily in summer—sometimes twice a day in hot parts of the country. Place plant supports now—as in the photo below—and save yourself some time and trouble later. Soon you’ll be harvesting the best food you’ve ever eaten from your container garden.
Step Five: Don’t focus only on results.
Gardening is a process, not just a means to an end. Enjoy everything it offers including singing birds, buzzing insects and abundant sunshine. These are all good—essential, in fact—for you, heart and soul.
For even more gardening tips, see my book, The 20/30-Something Garden Guide, a No-Fuss, Down-and-Dirty, Gardening 101 for Anyone who Wants to Grow Stuff to be published in February 2014.
Garden gloves, if you want them