Getting Started With Container Gardening

Image of an RV on a hill

We’re going on two years in our RV and this year will be our first getting started with container gardening. I’m pretty excited about this year because of our mini garden last year kind of going caput on us. With all fairness though, it was likely a lack of sun and the area not draining well during a heavy rain season.

Image of a plant in a pot with a name written on it

This year, so far, we have 5 tomato plants and some herbs. I plan to attempt to plant some cucumbers, green beans, and some more tomatoes – can you tell what we eat regularly?

This will likely be a series of posts since we’re just starting this journey ourselves.

Besides these, we’ll be regularly visiting the farmers market on Thursdays to pick up anything we’re not growing. I plan on canning a whole host of things this year to help cut our food bill down. Not to mention, the canned foods will be much healthier than any store-bought kinds.

So, this is what we’re doing this year to get started while we save for a house and land.

How We’re Getting Started With Container Gardening

#1 We’re Starting Small

We talked about growing all sorts of things here, but realistically it’s not going to happen. I’ve come to that realization and I’m not going to stress over “if someone else can do it, then I can” kind of mentality. It’s not worth the brain power or stress.

Focus on what you can handle and start with. We picked the few things we use regularly and are starting there. We may add more here and there, but it will depend on a few things. Some being weather, campground hosts, kids, and animals.

#2 Find A Place With Good Sunlight

Last year our choices of places with sunlight were very limited, and I think ultimately led to our gardens demise. This year, thankfully, we have a space that gets sunlight nearly all day. It was a no-brainer since most of the plants we have need full sunlight to thrive.

So we’ve carved out a place to stick our pots and I’m pretty excited. We have them all lined up in front of our camper.  With the help of our kids, we got them all planted. Now, we just need to be patient, tender, caring and keep them looking their best.

#3 Start Any Seeds Inside

There are a few plants we want to grow, but they’re seeds and not started plants. So, we’ll be starting these inside under a little light on our dining room table. Once they’re big enough we’ll transplant them into their own little pots outside. I’m not sure where or how we’ll hang our light yet, so we’re trying to come up with a plan that won’t cramp our space.

Thankfully, we can move things around so we’re not loading the table down with plants and crowding our only eating area.

I’m hoping the campground hosts and owners won’t complain about our container gardens. We haven’t busted up the ground or messed anything up, so fingers crossed. We are trying to find a non-permanent way to grow cucumbers and green beans right now.

I’m thinking about putting cages around the tomatoes and planting the green beans next to the tomatoes. If I don’t do that I’ll likely just put a cage around the green beans and cucumber pots.

#4 Use Good Soil (if you can afford to get it)

This was one we may or may not have done the right way, but we’ll soon find out. We didn’t have the budget to buy potting soil or garden soil. So, what we did was put really good clay in the bottom of the pots and then traveled into a woody area and took our rake and shovel with us.

If you rake back the leaves and get to the topsoil it’s generally really nice soil. It was nice, fluffy and rich.

Our next goal is to go to a bait shop and grab a good many worms to put in the pots. We don’t really have a place to put a compost, so if you have tips for composting in a camper please let me know.

With all that in place, we’re hoping these plants really take off.

#5 Don’t Overcrowd Your Pots

We’re slowly starting to move things from pots that are crowded to their own pots. I want to have a bountiful harvest this year from my limited garden. So, giving them the best chance of growing without overcrowding is the best option.

I had considered making one huge raised bed garden, but it’s a more permanent fixture and I was certain that would cause issues. The pots are the best way for us to go. But, this old toybox we built (and have since replaced) makes for a really good tiny raised bed garden.

We have regrown romaine lettuce and some green onions inside of it.

You can find used pots from a nursery, or you can buy them pretty cheap from Lowe’s if you’re just getting the plastic ones.

#6 Stay Tuned!!!

Once your container garden is all nice and set the waiting begins. Make sure it’s getting plenty of sunlight, water and that it’s draining well. Without proper drainage, the plants can drown and die. That would be tragic after all of the work you’ve put in to create such a wonderful little container garden.

Image collage of a boy using a hoe and some plants


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How To Live In An RV Without Feeling Cramped

image of two kids sitting on steps in front of an RV

Have you ever thought about downsizing to live in an RV or a Tiny Home? We had considered it for a few years before we actually started living in an RV. I was both excited and scared thinking about how it would feel to live in an RV.

Image of the inside of an RV with an overlay that says How to live in an RV without feeling cramped

Would we feel cramped? Would we not feel like we had enough space for things? Would the kids adjust? What would happen if it rained for a week straight (note: we had two months of rain and we did just peachy)?

How To Live In An RV Without Feeling Cramped

We started living in an RV due to my husband getting a job 4 hours from home and not wanting to pay rent for a home in the area. First, living on one income we just couldn’t swing it. Two, we didn’t want to when we could live in an RV in a campground and pay 1/4 what we would have paid for rent.

Not to mention our lot rent comes with electricity and water! So, we’re paying $300 per month for our spot on a hill and it’s really lovely. We’re surrounded by trees (not always a good thing — storms) and the campground is always peaceful and quiet.

With two kids, though, it can start feeling quite cramped when no one really has their own space. Both kids share an area with a bunk bed, and, of course, my husband and I share our room area.

But, I can say that the only time it really feels cramped is when the kids are acting up or being loud. Then I sometimes wish for a bit more room.

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Tips To Keep From Feeling Cramped When You Live In An RV

#1 Keep clutter to a minimum

This is a big one in an RV, honestly. The fact that it’s a small space means that any sort of clutter can start to really make the walls feel like they’re caving in. I’ve found myself just staring at the living area wide-eyed asking myself how in the world it got that cluttered.

Thankfully, it is a small enough space that it’s pretty quick to clean. Which is amazing and a definite pro when it comes to living in a smaller space then we were before.

Keeping a relatively clean RV will go a long way in making it feel more spacious.

#2 Look for an RV with slide-outs

Initially, I was thinking about finding a simple RV/camper to live in, but once I realized how important slides were that nixed the idea. We currently have 2 slides on our RV and it helps so much!

Our living area feels big enough that we aren’t shuffling by one another to get from one part of the RV to the other. But, the next one we get (if we don’t build a tiny house) will have more slides. The more slides you have the bigger the area feels.

Aim for at least one slide in the living area, and if you can find one with two or more then definitely go for that!

#3 Downsize and get rid of things

I’ll be honest, we are still working on this one. I have a serious kitchen gadget addiction and am finding gadgets that I can use as multi-purpose items (hello, InstaPot!). It’s a work in progress… I’ll just say that.

But, it doesn’t just go for kitchen items. It goes for everything. The more things you can downsize the easier it will be to feel like you have a ton of room. Think of things like clothes, shoes, toys, electronics, bags, hobby items and anything else that you tend to collect.

Downsizing can be hard, but it can also be liberating. So, don’t be afraid to let some stuff go. 🙂

#4 Clean up after yourself ASAP

This goes along with #1, but it’s a whole different thing. The kitchen sink and bathroom areas are small… TINY. So, they can get messy pretty quick.

Do the dishes after you’re finished eating and pick up the bathroom/sink area after you’re done in there. Don’t leave things lying around. Believe me, I’ve had many times where the sink was full of dishes and I started feeling claustrophobic. It’s crazy.

Taking a little extra time to clean up after you’re done doing something will help the room seem brighter longer.

#5 If you have kids, find a way to store toys

It took us probably a year before we found something we liked that actually kept the kids toys from being all over the place. We’re using a clothes basket, but one of those cloth kinds you can get at Target that’s pretty and homey. It makes the kid’s room look nice and all of their toys fit wonderfully in it.

Don’t hesitate to get creative. We were going to build a toy box, but… we’re not exactly wood-savvy folks. Most of our things come out looking kind of rough. So, we splurged on a basket that looks pretty ;).

#6 Use storage areas wisely

Living in an RV proves difficult when it comes to storage areas. Thankfully, our little home has two beds that have storage underneath them, plus a couch that has a storage area. These places can get pretty full pretty quick, especially with winter clothes and excess blankets.

Aside from clothing spaces, any other spaces that you have like cabinets above a couch or under seating should be used wisely. If you find yourself running out of space to put things it may be time to revisit #3 and downsize a little more.

This lifestyle can seem very limiting at first, but after you’re living it for a while it starts to feel very freeing. Not being weighed down by all the things and not worrying about the next best gadget.

Here’s a rule you might find useful: One thing out for one new thing in. Meaning for every new item you want to bring into your RV, you need to get rid of one thing. This keeps your space easy to manage without overcrowding yourself. Of course, that only works with like-sized items ;).

#7 Build shelving if necessary

When we moved into the RV we’re in, our cabinets were (still are mostly) one huge shelf. Meaning there wasn’t a shelf in there to create rows for plates/cups/bowls/etc. We had to go out and buy makeshift shelving… and it’s not really great shelving either. We’re going to be making new shelves soon to separate the cabinet into three shelves. Or two… I haven’t decided.

Another place we added shelving was in our closets. We could have hung things up, but the shelves were much more efficient and useful for us than hangers. Mainly, this was due to the fact that not a lot of weight can be hung in the closet without it ripping the panel down (boooooo). So, the shelves work wonderfully for us and we have a way to stack our clothes nice and neat.

We’ll likely be building a bookshelf type thing here soon that I can stick right by our slide-out. It will serve as sort of a second pantry. Our current pantry gets full way to fast, so we’re going to make another one.

It’s all a work in progress and things are taken one day at a time.

We’ve been so grateful for our time in the RV, even if some days are trying. We feel closer than ever and love the coziness of what we’ve created.

Stay tuned! We’ll be renovating our little place soon!

double image of the outside of an RV and the inside of an RV


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