You want to start a vegetable garden (or any garden really), but you just don’t have the space. Or a yard. How do you even think about gardening when you live in an apartment like me and not only don’t have a yard, but are living in cramped quarters?
Yahoo! Voices has some fantastic advice on apartment gardening. They say that as long as you have a porch or a balcony that gets sunlight, you can grow a variety of fruits and vegetables and plants.
Using containers to garden is easy, movable, and can be accomplished in very small spaces. Save containers in which to plant your vegetables such as coffee cans (place the lid on the bottom to prevent rust stains), water jugs with the top cut off, deep bowls, plastic nursery planters, flower pots, empty milk jugs, etc. Put holes in the bottom of your containers so the water will have a way to drain out. You can also use self-watering containers with reservoirs that hold enough water to keep the soil moist without constant attention. Outdoor containers, particularly those in full sun, dry out quickly on hot days and may need watering more than once a day in the heat of summer. With a self-watering container, you don’t have to arrange your life around a watering schedule.
Use the entire porch area, not just the outer edges. Arrange the pots in rows, allowing enough room for you to stand between them. Railings can be used as trellises for taller climbing plants. If you will grow trailing plants such as melons or cucumbers, they can also be trellised to save room and the fruits will grow just fine if they are hanging.
Fruits & Vegetables You Can Grow In a Small Space:
Sugar baby watermelon
Any small squash or melon
Tomatoes and cherry tomatoes
Onions, chives and garlic
Herbs and spices
Lettuce, cabbage and kale
Broccoli and cauliflower
Because your space is going to be limited, you want to make sure you choose plants that will grow well in your area. Also, make sure that you place the plants in the correct areas on the porch or balcony so that the plants that need sun are in the sun and the plants that need shade are in the shade.
To keep birds away, you can hang old CDs from string. The more you have, the better. They will twist and flash, effectively scaring birds away. Putting rubber snakes around your plants will also keep the birds away. Move them every few days, though, or the birds will realize they are not real. (Pretty smart birds, huh?)
You can also garden successfully indoors if you don’t have access to a porch or balcony. Reserve bright windowsills for flowering plants that need lots of sun. Plants with bright or variegated foliage, such as polka dot plant and croton, develop the best color near a bright window but out of direct light. Peace lilies and cast iron plants are noted for their ability to thrive in dim corners and recesses of your apartment.
Filling your indoor space with plants creates a relaxing environment and helps purify the air. Peace lilies, pothos and English ivy are among the easiest plants to grow, and NASA studies have shown that they filter toxins such as ammonia, formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Other good plants that improve air quality include date palms, rubber plants and weeping figs. (Source : Gardening Know How)
Another option for apartment dwellers is to plant a kitchen windowsill herb garden. You can buy kits at the garden center which include a long, narrow tray that fits neatly on the windowsill, pots, soil and seeds. Or choose a single specimen plant, such as a rosemary trained into a basket or topiary shape, and enjoy that on your windowsill, snipping off bits as needed for culinary use. Herbs that do well on bright, sunny windowsills include basil, rosemary, chives, and dill.
- Choose midget, bush or dwarf varieties of fruits and vegetables. These plants thrive in small containers and retain their diminutive shapes, making them perfect for those balcony gardens.
- Be sure you have adequate light. Sometimes apartments are situated with just a small alley between buildings, and neighboring buildings can block the light to your balcony. Try growing plants inside using grow lights if you need supplement light.
- If you’re dying to try some heirloom or exotic varieties that can only be grown from seed, organize a seed swap with other apartment dwelling gardeners. Share seeds and plants. You may just meet some new gardening friends and get to grow some interesting plants.
- Purchase a book on Indoor Gardening, Container Gardening and/or if you’re gardening outdoors, what to do for specific pests and how to get rid of them.
Do you have any tips or tricks to small space gardening ?! I’d LOVE to hear them !!