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RV-Friendly Micro Farming: Grow Your Food While You Travel

This post was updated on March 15th, 2024

Everyone is looking for ways to save money on groceries! This is especially important for RVers, who often find bulk buying impractical due to space constraints, resulting in frequent, smaller grocery runs. Fortunately, there’s a sustainable solution that not only saves time and money but also travels with you: micro farming.

Microfarming, a practice that maximizes yield from limited space, is perfectly suited for the RV lifestyle. While it’s unrealistic to bring a full-sized garden on the road, a carefully selected array of herbs and vegetables can thrive within the confines of your mobile home.

Growing plants in your RV is a great way to freshen up the air, add a pop of color, and create a sustainable source of food that you can take anywhere. This article explores various micro farming techniques suited for the road, ideal plants for your mobile garden, and potential challenges to anticipate.

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Micro Farming Options for RVers

1. Windowsill Gardens

Make the most of your RV’s window areas for growing plants. Even without traditional windowsills, you can still create a great space for your green friends. Use the space around windows or countertops near the glass to place plants.

With some creative setups like attaching lightweight planters with suction cups or Velcro, you’ll give your plants enough sunlight and keep them in sight. This setup is not just practical; it also lets you decorate your RV with plants, using colorful planters as part of your interior design. It’s a smart way to brighten up your space and ensure your plants thrive.

2. Hydroponic Gardening

Another great option for micro farming is to opt for a base of water instead of soil. Hydroponics is increasing in popularity around the globe and it works great for travelers too. If you don’t want to worry about cleaning up loose soil or adding fertilizer, switch to a hydroponic setup where you can immerse the plant roots in water and mix helpful nutrients directly into the stream.

If you want a compact hydroponics system for your RV, consider the iDOO Hydroponics Growing System. This comes with a built-in grow light, an adjustable base, and a large tank for water. It’s completely customizable and perfect for growing small batches of plants in a single location.

3. Vertical Garden

When floor space is at a premium, consider vertical gardening. for your micro farming needs. You can install a series of shelves along the wall, or hang a shoe organizer and use each pocket for a different plant!

Just make sure that your chosen design is well secured so it doesn’t fall or sway while the vehicle is moving. You don’t want to deal with a mess of dirt and dead plants every time you park! Suction cups and custom shelving can help solve this issue.

4. Soil-filled Containers

If you have space for something a little larger, you can also opt for soil-filled containers on the floor. This would be good for large, bushy plants like tomatoes, snap peas, and potatoes. This is also a handy solution for plants that require a lot of root space.

Select movable pots for flexibility and consider outdoor placement to maximize sunlight exposure. While this method requires more space, it’s suitable for those willing to invest the effort.

5. Regrow Food Scraps

Finally, you can save money by regrowing your food scraps. Some plants can be grown and harvested multiple times in a row. For instance, you can save the roots of your green onions, celery, or romaine lettuce. Stick them in water and let new leaves grow from the base!

You can also make cuttings and propagate them so they grow new roots. Basil, mint, and other herbs are quite good for this. Just clip off a portion of the stem (with a few leaves attached) and submerge the tip in some water. Keep it in the sunlight until it begins to sprout new roots. Then you can move it to a new container and enjoy a healthy new plant.

Best Plants To Grow in an RV

Of course, not every plant is suitable for micro farming. Some species need plenty of space to spread out, while others are fragile and can’t cope with the rough and tumble life in an RV. If you try to grow pumpkins or squash in your vehicle, you’ll be overrun with vines! Meanwhile, tropical plants won’t be able to survive without specific heat and humidity conditions.

However, there are lots of plants you can grow while you travel. The best species for RVers include those that don’t require much space, can survive without full sunlight, and are resistant to a variety of climates. Root vegetables are some of the best candidates (if you have the space).

With that in mind, here are some of the best plants you can grow indoors.

  • Herbs (basil, lemongrass, rosemary, parsley, mint, etc)
  • Sprouts
  • Salad greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, Swiss chard, etc.)
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Scallions
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers

Although you can grow these plants from seed, it may be better to buy sprouts at the beginning. This makes them more resistant to changes in their environment, plus you won’t have to wait as long to harvest the produce.

Potential Complications to Consider

Micro farming is a great way to grow plants in your RV and add fresh ingredients to your diet. But it’s not necessarily the best option for everyone. There are some complications that could make it hard to maintain a mobile garden.

1. Crossing State/International Borders

If you’re in an RV, there’s a good chance that you travel frequently. Crossing state borders is part of the job, and you might even venture into Canada or Mexico on occasion. But in this case, you need to be careful about what you travel with. Plants and produce tend to be strictly regulated.

You might not be allowed to cross certain borders if you have live plants in your vehicle. International borders are particularly strict, but some states like California may also stop you and ask that you remove any organic material. If this happens, you could lose an important diet staple, plus the money that you spent to cultivate and care for the plants.

2. Micro Farming and Travel Stress

Traveling in an RV presents a unique set of challenges for plant enthusiasts, notably the issue of ensuring their safety and stability during transit. The motion of the RV can indeed subject plants to stress, risking soil spillage, leaf drop, or even the toppling of containers. To mitigate these risks and safeguard your mobile garden, consider implementing a few strategic measures:

  • Use non-slip mats or grippers at the base of plant containers to prevent sliding.
  • Employ bungee cords or adjustable straps to securely fasten larger pots to stable fixtures within the RV.
  • For smaller pots, consider a dedicated shelf or cabinet equipped with barriers or soft securing straps.
  • Explore collapsible, lightweight plant holders that can be easily stowed during long drives.

3. Pet Safety

Finally, you should think about any pets that might be in your RV. Lots of dogs and cats love to nibble on plants that they find, so your garden may be at risk. In addition, some herbs and vegetables can be toxic to our furry friends. Onions, garlic, tomatoes, chives, aloe vera, and other household plants could make them sick or worse!

Carefully research each plant before you buy it. It may be harmless to us, but it might be dangerous to your animals. Don’t bring anything risky into your RV, even if you think your pet will leave it alone.

Wrapping Up RV-Friendly Micro Farming

As we’ve explored, micro farming within the confines of an RV presents a unique opportunity to blend the joys of gardening with the adventurous spirit of travel. Whether you’re utilizing inventive windowsill alternatives or experimenting with hydroponics, the possibilities for cultivating your own fresh produce on the go are as boundless as the open road.

We’d love to hear from you! Share your own RV micro farming experiences and tips with our community. Your insights could inspire fellow travelers to embark on their own green journey, making every mile a bit more sustainable and a lot more vibrant. Join the conversation and let’s grow together in our quest for a greener, self-sufficient travel lifestyle.

Happy micro farming, and may your travels be ever green!

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