The busy life has encouraged many people to leave town every chance they get and de-stress from the fuss of the modern world. One of the trends today is renting or owning an RV that can take you on the road whenever you feel like it. Those who experienced this kind of traveling know it can sometimes be challenging to keep up with a healthy diet full of fresh produce and nutritional ingredients.
The good news is that you can still pay attention to what you eat by growing a traveling garden in your RV. It may sound like something too challenging, but it’s actually easier than you think. Here are some tips on successful gardening in an RV.
Evaluate the available gardening space
Since your RV is going to be your home for a certain time, you need to make sure that you don’t go overboard with plants. After all, you need to bring other things with you that will need storage space, so it’s wise to evaluate how much space you have for an RV garden. Once you know how much space you have for gardening you can decide what kind of plants to grow.
However, this also gives you an opportunity to be creative and discover some new ways to grow a traveling garden and slash your food budget. For example, you can hang planters in the corners or a shower stall, which is perfect for plants that don’t need too much sun. Even hanging plants from the ceiling is a great idea, just make sure that the pots are not made of breakable materials to avoid accidents.
Check the regulations
Certain laws and regulations may restrict the transport of plants across the country and borders, so you need to check the legislation first before creating an RV garden. Of course, one rule may apply where you live and other in the destination you are about to travel. This is not anything you can’t deal with and it’s far from being a reason to abandon your traveling garden idea.
It will save you from getting a fine when pulled over and make your journey more comfortable. Moreover, you may discover some new interesting plants to grow that you usually wouldn’t consider as the RV garden material.
Know your plants
Some plants need space, while others are satisfied with a modest spot you can give them. Fortunately, this includes edible plants as well, not only the decorative ones. For example, herbs are especially favorite with RVers since they need a little place, but can make a lot of difference for a dish.
Also, focus more on the plants with short maturity date so you can harvest them faster and replant again. That’s why lettuce is one of the most practical vegetables to grow on the road, but you can also grow tomatoes, as long as they are of the smaller variety, like cherry.
Food to grow from scraps
Instead of throwing away your garden scraps, you can use them to create a garden. All you need is a little bit of room in the sunny spot and water to help those scraps grow roots. For example, cut the bottom of the cabbage head off and put it in the shallow container with a little water. Carrots greens are excellent for salads and easy to have from leftover root tops.
If you are a fan of green onions without a farmer’s market or store insight, you can grow them in your RV garden. Just cut off the white ends with roots and place them in the bowl of water. Soon enough you will have green leaves regrown and ready to eat. The same principle goes for leeks, lemongrass, and fennel. Just make sure to change the water frequently and not allow the container to dry out completely.
Learn about hydroponic gardening
Hydroponic gardening grows plants in water and nutrients, without using any type of soil. This is perfect for RV gardens since some countries prohibit certain soils to cross the border. Moreover, it’s a faster way to grow plants and you can do it all year round.
Additionally, hydroponics requires less space than regular gardening and will conserve water when you are traveling. But, you still need to pay attention to some factors, like air circulation, lighting, and water quality. What type of gardening system you will use for hydroponics depends on what you intend to grow. Lettuce, kale, oregano, and strawberries are the easiest to grow with hydroponic gardening and perfect for beginner RV gardener.
You can still grow plants outdoors
Growing plants outdoors depends on where you travel. If the destination has a warm climate or at least one with temperatures above freezing, you can plant in outdoor containers. Small containers are easy to store in the RV bed while driving, only to be later carried outside in the sunny spot.
Outdoor gardening while traveling with an RV is a great choice for those who will stop for several days at one location. This will also allow you to cultivate more varieties, especially those that don’t thrive well inside or need more space to grow.
Some ideas for indoor planters
Indoor planters may require some special planning, but they can be a wonderful decorative addition to your RV. Delicate flowers, like orchids, are great for indoor gardening and to give your vehicle more of a glamping feel. A shower stall with a skylight is a good spot to grow these luxuriously looking flowers, as well as many others loving humidity.
Use the space by the windows to create a small garden for those plants that need sunshine to grow and thrive. If you can’t build shelves, try the ones with suction cups going on the windows that will save you from drilling holes into your RV and even save space. However, pay attention to place lighter and unbreakable pots in case the plants fall during driving.
Don’t be afraid to grow food
Experiencing food while traveling is one of the musts but driving an RV across the country doesn’t always lead you to the best restaurants. To make sure you still have tasty meals and pay attention to your weight, you can have your own vegetable garden.
Depending on how long you plan to stick around in one place, you can grow different types of vegetables. For example, you can use shoe organizers as a planter and hang it outside your RV turning it into an amazing herb garden. Alternatively, using a composting container can allow you to grow up to 50 plants and turns the organic kitchen waste to compost at the same time.
Ideas to save up space
Since designating a gardening space in your RV will be a challenge, you need to come up with practical ideas. This means that you will have to start using the principles of vertical gardening to preserve space and still get the most out of your crops. The easiest way to do so is by adding more shelves to your RV walls, although use lighter materials to not add too much weight to your vehicle.
Wall-hanging gardens are also possible inside the RV with some cheap solutions, like building a wire mesh for the pots. On the other hand, built-in containers are a wonderful choice for those who intend to grow their own food while on the row. You can install them below a skylight as a hanging shelf to create your own version of the small greenhouse.
Bring the right tools on the road
Every gardener requires a basic set of tools to properly care for the plants. Since a traveling garden may be smaller and more modest than the regular one, you will have to choose the tools that fit your needs. Gardening gloves are the first item you should get since they will protect your hands from splinters and cuts that can be really uncomfortable on the road.
Hand trowel will help you move the soil and take care of the weeds, making it perfect for planting and seeding. Choose the one made of stainless steel since it’s more durable and you won’t have to replace it any time soon. A hose will come in handy when you park at the campsite with a water supply so you can more easily irrigate your plants and replenish your water tanks. You can also use it to wash your RV from all the piled up dirt on the road, if necessary.
Think about ways of watering your plants
Besides sunlight, water is the most important ingredient for successful gardening in an RV. However, finding water on the road may not always be easy and you should plan ahead of the supplies you may need. The best way to ensure you have enough waters for your plants is by harvesting the rain.
You can build your own rainwater collection system or ask for one from the manufacturer. Today, some RVs already have these systems installed because of the increased demand for eco-friendly vehicles. It may cost you a little extra, but this water harvesting technique can be a real lifesaver on the road.
Provide nutrients for your garden
Unfortunately, plants will not grow without little help from you. All plants need nutrients to grow healthy and fruitfully, so you will have to fertilize them over time. This is not as difficult as it may sound since you can make your own fertilizer every day.
Food waste, like coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells, and other organic leftovers are great for creating compost. Top up your plants with the compost you made or turn it into a liquid feed by adding tea, and you will soon enough enjoy the yields of your lush garden.
In the end
Gardening has ups and downs even when you do it in your backyard, so growing a traveling garden may seem like a stretch. However, RV is like having a home on wheels, and just like you would grow plants indoors in your house, you can do it here. Start slowly with some easy varieties and once you get used to gardening in an RV, try some more demanding plants. If you pay attention to their needs and available conditions, you will have fun cooking with your first harvest in no time.