Sustainable Living & Indoor Gardening

As grower, gardener, and green plant technician I often look at the spaces everywhere I go as potential places to grow. Often times this is for others to help determine the best use of the space they have available. Surprisingly enough it doesn’t take a lot of space to grow, herb gardens can be done on a window sill or in a hanging basket below a sky light. Most might argue that growing things is messy; dirt gets all over the place. Well this can be the case when using soil but there are many other mediums that you can grow in like coco or Rockwool cubes.

As an individual I’m also very interested in sustainable living and love coming up with different ways of recycling and growing plants in tight spaces. I currently live in a one bedroom apartment with two medium size west facing windows; I have only been living here a few months and already have a couple dozen house plants. In the weeks to come I am planning on putting in a small herb garden, I love to cook and fresh herbs are always a bonus.

I wasn’t sure at first how I was going to do this, I mean I didn’t want to have to go out and buy a bunch of pots, or some domed containers. Then I noticed the plastic muffin container sitting on the kitchen counter, why not, for most people these tend to be common items that get tossed in the trash or sent to a recycler.

We all know how long plastic takes to break down so why not take some out of the loop for awhile and put them to good use. These come in all shapes and sizes, some with domes some without.


With a little creative license many containers can be used for little pots or trays. Nearly everything comes inside some kind of plastic container whether it its food or not. I recently started a dozen seeds, the little plastic containers those wax squares come in.

You know the one you melt over a tea light candle? They work perfectly and have their own snap on lid. One of the most important things to do with any container (besides cleaning it) is to make sure you add some drainage holes on the bottom, roots don’t like to set in water. This will allow excess water to drain through so you will need a tray (often the lid works well from the same container) beneath it.

In the case of seedlings domed containers work the best providing a sealed environment so that the moisture content is high. This will help force water into the membrane of the seeds helping them to sprout. All that’s left is adding your soil to the containers and adding your plants, whether there herbs, vegetables or even common house plants. Remember that most all seeds require a warm moist environment to get started.

Remember this, long before there were harmful chemicals and commercial pesticides people were cultivating the soil and planting things. Keep it simple and use organic methods in dealing the issues that come up. Not all plants need a lot of water so do a little research on what your growing, there’s this tool – called the internet. Green plants want to live so if you try so will they.

You will be improving your own environment and making the world a little greener in the process. It might be therapeutic. You might even feel a little better knowing you have done your own bit of recycling.

Van M. Bigelow

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