How Does Your Garden Grow?

City gardening is easier than you think with these tips from teeny tiny foodie founder Jory Lieber.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

When you're pregnant, you become acutely aware of what's going into your body. So what could be more healthy than supplementing your supermarket shopping trips with a few home-grown veggies and herbs? If you’re lucky enough to have some outdoor space, there are so many great foods that can be grown in the middle of New York City. But if you’ve only got indoor space, there’s plenty you can grow too (especially during the colder months!).

As the summer comes to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on a season of city gardening, and think ahead for warmer weather. Last summer, I planted my first-ever urban vegetable garden on my deck. Some things grew well (herbs) and some things did not (cucumbers and squash). This summer, I tried again, keeping in mind a few lessons I’d learned from last year’s gardening failures and complications. Here’s a few tips and ideas for growing a city garden so you can work your green thumb as you work your enviable bump.


1. Scope out your available space for a garden

Regardless of the size of the garden you want to plant, or whether you’re trying to plant an indoor or outdoor garden, you want to think ahead about how much space you can actually use. Try to imagine potential problems caused by factors that could affect your garden, such as airflow from fans and vents, items that will get in the way such as window treatments or guards, spots that will be shaded during different times of the day, or interference from curious little people, pets or pests. If your space is limited and you want to plant an edible garden, I suggest planting herbs. They don’t need to take up much real estate, and some herbs, such as chives, sage and rosemary, might even come back the next year.

2. Consider your sunlight

After you figure out how much space you can actually use, next consider what will grow well in your space. There is a lot of talk on various gardening websites about hardiness zones, which can be helpful if you’re hoping to grow through the winter. Since I was only growing in the summer months, I paid attention to factors such as the amount of sunlight my garden would receive and what types of herbs and vegetables can thrive under summer city conditions. Also, my garden is west-facing and receives very intense sunlight -- with no shading -- for around 8 to 10 hours each day. Items like chives and rosemary are very happy in this type of sun, so they have thrived in my garden. Keep in mind the time of day your garden receives the most intense light, too. Plants such as tomatoes and basil thrive in very intense sunlight, whereas plants such as parsley and kale grow well in partial shade or minimal sunlight. Here’s some other ideas of plants that work well in less sunny conditions.

3. Figure out the best method for you to maintain your garden

Perhaps I’m kind of old school, but to me, planting a garden means: soil, a pot, seeds or seedlings, sunlight and water. I was surprised to learn that there is a whole world of container gardening out there, too. Although I haven’t dedicated the time needed to truly learn how to make a container garden, it can be a great wintertime gardening option for city living. Even for my outdoor summer garden, irrigation was a problem during my first year of experimenting, so I needed to figure out how to fix it. I had supplied my “traditional garden” -- with soil in planters and seedlings nestled inside -- with a proper amount of water; however my planters didn’t drain well. So this year, instead of using only soil, I lined the bottom of my planter boxes with rocks so the water would drain out fully and not drown my plants.

4. Use quality soil, seeds and seedlings

One factor that I believe hindered my garden last year was the quality of starter plants I used. I bought starter plants later in the season from a local hardware mega-store, rather than a garden supplier or even a smaller store with employees who know and care for the plants and can answer questions you might have when buying your supplies. This year, I planned ahead a little bit better and ordered seeds from an online supplier. These plants seem to be much healthier than the ones I used last year. I also purchased some starter plants of herbs from smaller garden suppliers and florists, and those herbs have been growing happily, too.

Teeny Tiny Foodie is teaming up with Taste Buds Kitchen in Manhattan to offer seasonal baby food cooking classes. Check out the schedule and register here.

I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

Keep reading Show less

Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

Our Partners

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play