If you’re a full-time RVer, or are thinking of adopting the full-time RV lifestyle, you probably have mixed emotions about giving up your spacious brick-and-mortar life and taking up residence inside a home on wheels. The benefits of full-time RVing are many, from endless freedom and carefree days to unlimited sightseeing and new friends. The world really is your oyster when you take to the open road with nothing holding you back. However there are some things about living life on the road that may cause you to reconsider whether you are ready for this roaming type of lifestyle. If you're a gardener, one of these factors is having to give up your beloved outdoor space which for many of us includes a beautiful flower or vegetable garden. Creating and tending to a garden helps connect us to nature. It provides calmness and serenity in a world full of to-do lists and deadlines. Well, I have good news for those of you who are saddened by thinking about leaving your gardening hobby behind as you head down the road! There are many plants that can withstand the RV lifestyle, and gardening on the road is very doable! Whether you escape to warmer snowbird destinations or are setting up camp where the temps are chillier, you can enjoy RV gardening. So let’s get growing!
To adorn the inside of your motorhome with greenery, you have many options! There are loads of plants that actually thrive in low light and will do well behind the windows of your RV. Consider adding these plants to your motorhome's decor:
- Spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum)- Will tolerate temps down to 35° but prefers temps between 65°-90°. Helps to reduce air pollution.
- Snake plant (Sansevieria)- Will tolerate any type of light, including low light, but it will grow faster in more sunlight. Move onto your motorhome’s patio or into a sunny window when possible. Tolerates neglect well!
- Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)- Place in indirect sunlight inside your rig. North or west-facing windows are best; recently recognized by NASA for its air-purifying capabilities! Produces beautiful flowers!
- Lucky Bamboo (Dracaena braunii)- Does well in bright, indirect sunlight. Too much sun will burn the leaves, and not enough sun will stunt its growth.
- African Violet (Saintpaulias)- Thrives in moderate, indirect light indoors. Keep away from vents, fans, or doors to avoid cold breezes. Provides beautiful, colorful flowers!
- Succulents- Plant them in a whimsical planter (shabby-chic wooden tool box?) and you have a little indoor garden that you can decorate your dinette or nightstand with. Aloe and cacti are succulents. Since they hold water in their fleshy leaves, they can withstand infrequent watering.
The RVing lifestyle lends itself perfectly to container gardening! Use containers filled with lovely flowers to make your campsite feel like home. Place containers around your outdoor patio, hang them from your awning, or even make a custom flowerbed that attaches to your motorhome's rear bumper! There are many plans online that you can follow to make one that fits just right! With containers, the sky is the limit! From flowers and plants to fruits and veggies, you can grow almost anything in a container. To avoid adding too much weight to your RV, don’t use ceramic containers. Use plastic ones, empty and cleaned out food cans (think soup cans, peanut jars, Mason jars, 2-liter soda bottles, etc.), hanging shoe pocket storage, and more. Get creative with your containers and personalize them with your own unique style.
If growing and enjoying organic fruits and veggies is something you enjoy, you don’t have to give this up! Grow potatoes and carrots in natural fabric bags that have handles for easy portability. These are ideal for crops that need deep soil to grow in. And they’re easy to move around for optimal sunlight. Strawberries are easy to grow in pots. Choose urn-shaped pots for the best results and keep them well watered and in full sun to partial shade. You’ll love being able to pluck a ripe strawberry right from your RV’s garden! Tomatoes are easy to grow vertically when you use a contraption like the Topsy Turvy Upside Down Tomato Planter. The roots are at the top and the stem grows down toward the ground. Hang it from your awning or the side of your motorhome and you’ll be able to enjoy delicious organic tomatoes on your salads or make homemade spaghetti sauce right in your rig!
There’s nothing better than adding fresh, home-grown herbs to meals, and you’ll be able to do this easily even when RVing. Herbs are easy to grow in small containers both inside and outside. Basil, thyme, oregano, cilantro, and mint all grow easily in pots and add immense flavor to food. Consider planting herbs in a rectangular box and hanging them over your RV’s sink. They’ll soak up sunlight through the window and any excess water will drip right into your sink! How convenient! Or place them on your motorhome’s dash when you’re parked for plenty of sunlight. For vertical interest, fill a shoe organizer with various herbs and hang it on the outside of your RV. Just imagine how nice it will be to sit down to a plate of tomatoes topped with basil leaves, both grown in your RV's garden!
Benefits of RV Gardening
Like the leaves on a ficus tree, the benefits of gardening while full-time RVing are many. Not only do plants add beauty to any space, but they also help create a healthier environment. Plants help filter and purify the air, and they also add moisture to the air. Since RVs are typically dry and prone to static, adding plants can make it a nicer place to call home. Having plants placed throughout your motorhome gives it a very cozy, residential feeling, much like that of an actual residence. Research shows that having indoor plants helps to improve concentration, memory, and mood. The calming effects that plants bring help you feel relaxed, positive, and happier. So in addition to looking nice, they also make you feel nice! Also, when living life on the road, it helps to have regular activities to fill your day, and tending to your RV garden can serve this purpose.
When packing up and heading from one destination to another, make sure you secure your plants somewhere inside your motorhome that will keep them upright and in good condition. Your shower or bathtub is a great place to set your plants, as is your sink. If they tip over and water spills out, it just goes right down the drain. Also, attach anti-skid pads or Velcro to the bottom of each pot to help keep them in place. This should help them stay standing up even as you hit pot holes and bumps at 60 MPH.
Do you garden while on the road? If so, what do you grow? Do you have any helpful tips or tricks for successful RV gardening that you want to share? Let us know in the comments! We'd love to hear from you!