Time to replace the winter gloves with garden gloves and the snow shovel for the spade! For Chicago at least, folklore has it that once Mother’s Day passes we can begin putting some plants in the ground. Whether your garden is in a backyard, a rooftop, or a windowsill, here are some great gardening projects to check out:

Mini greenhouse made from a 2-liter soda bottle Japanese moss ballsCreating a tiny terrarium in a light bulb

  • Starting your plants from seed is not only has a cost saving benefit, but reminds you of how amazing nature is as you watch a tiny seed grow and become something that nourishes you (either in mind or in spirit). Get your seedlings started with this mini greenhouse made from reusing a plastic soda bottle.
  • Kokedama is the Japanese term for bonsai-style moss ball plantings. Perfect for low light areas, you can create a  hanging garden of baby ferns, grasses or other small shade-loving plants. Water by daily misting, and submerging the entire plant in a bucket for 15-20 seconds every few weeks.
  • Recycle those burned incandescents by making a tiny terrarium in a light bulb. Just add an air plant or two, some preserved moss and sand or small pebbles. White bulbs will work too — after the filament is removed, just add a few teaspoon of salt to the bulb, then shake it all around until the inner coating is removed. Empty and rinse thoroughly.
A plant screen created from stacked and hanging copper guttersseed tapeGrowing tomatoes upside down using a plastic bucket
  • I clipped and saved this copper gutter garden screen project from Martha Stewart Living years ago, and it’s still something I hope to do someday.
  • Loving this idea for biodegradable seed tape. In the evenings or those cold, rainy days you can’t get to the garden, just glue seeds down to a length of toilet tissue. When the sun’s back out, lay down the seed tape, cover with a bit of soil and water, and voilà! perfectly spaced seedlings.
  • For a do-it-yourself spin on the ones seen in those TV ads, use a plastic bucket to make your own topsy turvy hanging tomato planter. Once I find a secure place to hang it from I’ll be trying this with a kitty litter bucket for some cherry tomatoes this summer.

More Ideas and inspiration

  • Check out this video on guerilla gardening in the UK — it’s very James Bond meets Frederick Law Olmsted.
  • Not all us urban gardeners have the luxury of a proper backyard patch of dirt. Nothing stops a green thumb though, so check out these alternative garden ideas and small space veggie plots  from Sunset if you’re strapped for space.

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