This was the second year that I’ve been attempting to garden while renting. I shared about the beginning of this year’s garden back in April. I had high hopes for my few little plants I was able to plant in my tiny place. This year hasn’t gone as planned in a large number of ways and my little garden is no exception.
Gardening While Renting Year Two Recap
For this year’s garden I chose to plant some things that I thought would be fun to grow.
- Seed paper with a mystery plant
I made a bunch of mistakes right from the start, such as not paying attention to what time of year I was planting and not using fertilizer, but I was still hopeful my garden might work out all right. I counted all of those mistakes as lessons learned in my gardening adventures.
Learning How to Garden
Because I’ve never had space to keep my own garden as a renter, gardening is all new to me. I’m finding there is so much to learn with gardening! With the food I planted this year, I had some specific questions I was wanting to answer.
How do you harvest Dill?
I was most excited about planting dill just because I love the smell of dill. I was also imagining pickling some veggies and maybe even making a vegan potato salad. Since the dill plant I purchased was quite full grown, I wanted to find out how to harvest it.
It turns out harvesting dill is really easy! And it’s a fantastic plant because you can continue to harvest it all season and it will continue to grow.
As soon as your dill plant has a few offshoots of leaves, you can begin to harvest them. Just cut off the leaf stems at the base where it meets the plants and that’s all there is to it. Almanac has a great summary of growing and harvesting dill on their site, which I found helpful.
Here’s a quick 15-second video that shows how easy harvesting dill really is:
How do you know when Beets are ready for harvest?
I was also excited to give beets a try as they are not something I normally buy at the grocery store. I try to eat a good variety of vegetables to get a variety of vitamins, but do also struggle to buy new things. I thought it would be great to have something new to try growing in my garden!
Since I know so little about beets, I had to look up how to know when to harvest them.
Gardener’s Path has some great, easy advice for knowing when to harvest your beets:
- If you wait too long to harvest your beets, they will lose flavour.
- Harvest your beets when they are the size of a golf ball or larger.
- If you can see your beets protruding an inch or two out of the soil, it’s a good time to harvest them.
- Wilted leaves are a sign you should harvest your beets.
In looking up when to harvest beets, I also came across the information that I could have been harvesting the leaves to eat! You can harvest a couple leaves per plant and The Farmer’s Almanac says you can do this until the leaves are 6-inches tall and become tough.
An Early Farewell To This Year’s Garden
Sadly, my gardening while renting adventure has come to an early end this year. My garden died partially because of me and partially because of other elements.
My dill and beet plants did not get enough water this year. I was already having trouble remembering to water my plants, but then my area was hit with extreme heat and a climate change induced heatwave. We experienced temperatures higher than I’d ever seen in our area before. During that time, I was focused on staying cool and knowingly neglected my garden.
My kale plants were stripped of their leaves by something or someone. I was so disheartened to see this as the little plants were growing so well before they were destroyed. I noticed them after my upstairs neighbours moved out and new tenants moved in, which is a risk of gardening while renting. In a shared space there is a chance your belongings won’t be respected.
It’s also possible that animals or insects destroyed the plants as I live in an area that is full of wildlife. Whatever happened, it destroyed the last of my plants and that was the end of the gardening season for me.
And lastly, the seed paper I planted never sprouted, so it remains a mystery as to what it would have been. I tried the seed paper both outdoors and indoors on my windowsill, but it did not grow in either place.
This Year’s Gardening While Renting Lessons
While my gardening while renting adventure came to an early conclusion this year, I still like to think of it as a success. As with my garden from last year, attempting to grow my own food makes me appreciate the work that goes into the food that I eat.
We can be so disconnected from the process of food production that it’s possible to forget the precarious nature of farming and food production. The heatwave we experienced in my area highlighted this even more, as it was easy to see how a change in temperature can impact a plant’s growth.
Even though I have no food to show for my little garden, I still learned a lot. I know more about proper times to plant in my garden, fertilizing the soil, and how to harvest various plants. Every new hobby and adventure will teach us something. This little garden is challenging me and teaching me something new every year.
How is your garden doing so far this year?
Are you a renter? Have you ever tried gardening while renting?