1. Grow a container garden with cilantro and basil.
Sprinkle cilantro seeds close together in a pot, about one seed per square inch. Place in a sunny window in your kitchen and water and love until the plants are about three inches high. Whenever you need fresh cilantro, trim a whole section of the pot to about one inch. Cut often; plants are very resilient! This will keep your cilantro from getting tall and flowering.
Basil should have about four square inches per plant. Again, trim often and don’t be afraid to cut low. Just make sure to cut above a leaf. If you cut below the bottom leaf, it won’t grow back. When you cut the main stem, two branches will grow. This will make your plant nice and bushy rather than tall and top heavy. You can also just pinch off the top cluster of four leaves if you just need a bit.
2. Make a small lasagna garden.
I have yet to make a lasagna garden but I think it sounds like fun and I appreciate the philosophy behind it. It’s easy to get started because it doesn’t require any digging! It does require lots of composting supplies. Gather tons of newspaper and cardboard boxes, leaves, grass clippings, pulled weeds, straw, anything you would throw in your compost pile.
Layer the newspaper down covering the entire future-garden-area. Put lots on! Throw some cardboard on there as well. Thickly! Now choose another material, say leaves, and layer that on thickly. Keep going, layering, until your lasagna is two feet deep or more.
Now, if you have a few months to wait, you could water deeply and let it sit. When you’re ready to plant, just dig a hole with your hands, add finished compost, and plant into that. If you don’t have time to wait, you can go ahead and plant into it as is. Use a spadeful of compost to give your plants something extra to work with. You can even sow seeds into this.
Add new layers of mulch every year to keep the weeds away and because your plants will love it.
3. Grow a tomato plant in a hanging basket.
Hanging tomatoes are all the rage in home gardening magazines. It certainly eliminates the need for staking and tying and makes harvesting a breeze. Just make sure it’s in a sunny place and water frequently. I’d give it some compost tea once in a while as well to ensure good production. If you’re starting from seed, sow three or four and thin to one later. Keep moist until it has good strong roots, and even then water every day.
4. Grow lettuce in a window box.
When you harvest your lettuce, you can cut the whole head clean across with a knife, even with the dirt. Alternatively you can pluck off the outer leaves.
If you like baby leaf lettuce, sow the seeds thickly–about every square inch. When they’re about three inches tall you can begin to harvest. Cut clean across with a knife above the ground. You’ll be able to harvest again in about ten days!
5. Grow a three-sisters garden.
Beans, corn, and squash: each crop supports or feeds the others in some way. Corn is good for drawing fungus out of the soil and also serves as a trellis for pole beans. And of course beans are nitrogen fixers so they will feed the corn and the squash. Squash is a low-growing crop which takes up a lot of space and has big leaves. This shades the soil, conserving water and preventing weeds from flourishing.
Check out this website for excellent thorough planting instructions.