Tag Archives: garden

How to Create a Desktop Zen Garden on a Budget

I used to be kind of obsessed with Asian inspired decor. My entire home was accented with  Chinese word art, decorative fans, candles and holders galore. My color scheme was red, black, and gold. I loved it all, but all became too much so I opted to downsize and keep only a few things. The one thing that I wouldn’t even consider getting rid of was my desktop zen garden.

How to Create a Desktop Zen Garden on a Budget

A zen garden is pretty different from your typical vegetable or flower garden. They are great for helping with meditation and finding solitude on stressful days. You’d be amazed how rearranging a couple of rocks could help you relax.

If you have more of a black thumb than a green thumb like me then a zen garden could be the answer. You still have the benefit of maintaining and growing something without the hassle of a traditional garden. Succulents are nearly impossible to kill so you’re likely to have luck with them in there.

So, if you’re still reading I’m guessing you want to know how to make a desktop zen garden. Let’s find out and of course this is budget friendly.

Step #1 Decide on the size. Take measurements of the area you want your garden to be located. You’ll want the garden to be slightly smaller than the space you have available.

Step #2 Gather your supplies. I like to use upcycled and reclaimed supplies whenever possible. You’ll need a mostly flat piece of wood for the base. If you have an old dresser or cabinets the bottom of a drawer/shelf would work great. You’ll need more wood to build the sides of the garden, just cut them to the shape you want.

You’ll also need:

  • Wood glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Sand
  • Small rocks
  • small plants, moss, etc… if desired

Step #4 Prepare the space. Whenever sand is involved there’s a potential for mess. Lay down an old newspaper or towel to build your garden on. This will protect the surface below from unwanted mess and scratches.

Step #5 Build the garden. By now you should have the frame pieces ready for the build. Go ahead and glue them together and sand down any scratchy edges. The frame doesn’t have to be perfectly symmetrical, you just want it to be sturdy and have no gaps.

Step #6 Fill it up. Now the fun begins. Fill the zen garden with at least 2 inches of sand and adorn it with rocks and, if you want, small plants. You can rearrange the garden whenever you want, adding and removing adornments as you see fit.

A few fun tips for maintaining your zen garden

If you’re a beach lover or avid traveler bring back sand from your trips. It’s kind of awesome to have pieces of memories in one spot.

Don’t stop with boring rocks. Try seashells and quartz to make your zen garden more personal.

Sometimes you need to just add water. Build a small pond somewhere in your zen garden for added tranquility.

Make it yours. This is your zen garden so don’t be afraid to add personal touches. Add fun designs in the sand, add your own trinkets, etc…

Organic Vegetable Gardening Supplies

Basic Garden Essentials for Organic Gardening

So you’re ready to start your organic garden but don’t know what supplies you need. Let’s take a look at the basic and important things you need to start your organic garden.

The first thing is soil. Much like a swimming pool, soil needs to have the right pH level for plants to thrive. In order to regulate the pH, you can use compost as a neutralizer. Compost will also make sure the soil has the appropriate range of nutrients for the soil to cultivate.


You can make the compost yourself using dead leaves and weeds, fruit and vegetable scraps and rinds, as well as meat waste. These items are biodegradable and by turning them into compost you’re helping reduce the size of landfills.

After soil, seeds are the next most important thing you’ll need for your organic garden. If you choose to buy them you want to make sure you do so from a reputable dealer. Many places will sell seeds that are damaged or non-viable leading to no crops.


If you are worried about or just don’t want to grow from seeds you can buy already growing vegetable plants. Check the leaves and avoid the ones with discolored or wilted leaves.

Pest deterrents are vital for maintaining the integrity of your garden. Use helpful critters like ladybugs, praying mantis, and toads to keep the most damaging pests away. You can add a bird feeder and bird bath near the area to attract birds for even further protection.

You can use horticultural oils to control pests, but use caution since they can be toxic to humans and pets. Make your own using 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon of NON-DEGREASING liquid dishwashing detergent per gallon of water.

Garden Tools

Weeds are a garden’s worst enemy and therefore should be dealt with before they can wreak havoc. Use gardening gloves to pull the weeds from the ground, ensuring root removal. You can spray the area with horticultural vinegar or corn meal gluten granules to prevent weeds from germinating. These also release nitrogen into the soil.

Another of the non-toxic chemicals you can use to combat weeds are fish and seaweed based liquid based fertilizers. These also release nitrogen, phosphate, and potash which are good for your crops.

For people who don’t have a backyard, you can still do organic farming by buying pots. Ideally, you should use those made out of clay or wood. Keep in mind that container gardens need to be watered more frequently.

Organic Vegetable Gardening At Home

Organic Vegetable Gardening At HomeYou don’t have to be a farmer to start organic vegetable gardening at home. In all reality, organic gardening at home isn’t much different than what is done on a farm. The biggest differences are the size of the garden and the control you have over the crops.

The first thing to do when starting an organic vegetable garden is to decide on the ideal location. Many people opt for the backyard but keep in mind that for optimal growth your crops should get at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. You also want an area that has easy access to water a suitable drainage system. If draining is an issue you may do a raised bed organic garden.

Compost soil

Once you have found the right spot for your garden it’s time to cultivate the land. Grab a pair of gloves and your gardening tools and start removing weeds from the roots. To test the soil mix it with some compost. If everything blends together and stabilizes the soil is good for planting.

DIY Compost

diy compost

Anyone can start a compost pile and it doesn’t take a lot of time or money either. Here is a great tutorial for both indoor and outdoor composting.

Before you start your organic vegetable garden do some research on what plants flourish in your area. Because climate, pests, and plant-borne diseases vary by region you’ll avoid potential disappointment by planning ahead. You can also research which plants protect each other from pests and the ideal crop rotation for your area and time of year. To help deter pests you can put up a fence and install ladybugs and toads in your garden.

DIY Organic Vegetable Garden

Having your own organic vegetable garden has many benefits, both financially and health-wise. When it comes time to harvest you can freeze, can, and preserve any excess as well as gift some to friends, family, and neighbors. Many places have local farmer markets where you could also sell  your excess haul for coffee money.