Window Boxes and More for Urban Gardening
Living in an urban apartment doesn’t mean forsaking foliage and greenery completely. Even with limited space and no yard, you can still grow a fantastic garden. Whether you want to sustain your diet on fresh produce or simply want something to take care of, an apartment garden can be your oasis away from the daily city grind. Here’s some gardening tips on how to get yours off to a great start:
Pick some plants…
Consider what you could benefit from your garden. Some want a little bit of green decor for their apartment, while others plan on harvesting produce or herbs for cooking. Of course, you don’t need to choose one or the other! But because space is limited with an apartment, have a vision in mind in what you expect of your garden.
If you want to grow produce, consider what grows quickly and what you’re likely to make use of in the kitchen. This way you can harvest and re-grow your little crop quickly. Lettuce is a great option, because it grows fairly quickly and doesn’t take too much space. If you love salads and find yourself using a lot of lettuce, this would be a very easy plant to grow in your garden that you could benefit greatly from.
Don’t have the space to grow produce? Think about small garden ideas – An herb garden can be just as useful and fragrant. Basil, chives, sage, mint and oregano are all easy-to-grow herbs that go well with a number of recipes.
If you’re interested in growing flowers, try pansies, marigolds, nigella or aquilegia are all easy to grow requiring little care. Whatever choice you make, consider buying a seed starter kit if you want a little boost in confidence during the early stages of your garden’s life.
…and give them a home!
Coming up with a suitable container for plants or a garden is half the fun when it comes to apartment gardening! Take this opportunity to consider spare objects that can be upcycled (after all, junk accumulates all too easily in a small apartment). Egg cartons and old toilet paper tubes make for great seedling planters; for more mature plants, consider fish tanks and even old boots! Be careful with wooden containers, as these can rot; if you’re unsure about suitable objects on-hand, you can’t go wrong with terra cotta pots.
As long as it’s big enough for your plant and has drainage at the bottom so water can escape, you can be creative about what you use to contain plants. Pay careful attention as a plant grows to determine if it could use some extra space or pruning, and if you’re putting plants together in one container ensure that there’s plenty space to breathe (a couple inches is good).
Some tips on lighting
Pay attention to how much natural light your apartment receives, because even a balcony or window garden can miss out on sunlight due to shadows of neighboring buildings. If you’re struggling to find a good spot for your garden that can get a lot of sun, consider cultivating plants that do well in the shade. Some good herbs that are easy to grow in limited light are wild ginger, parsley, lemon balm and anise hyssop.
Are you eager to try your green thumb at a more ambitious garden? With the help of grow lights, you can still harvest a good haul in the shade. Grow lights aren’t incredibly expensive at $55, and you may find the expense to be worth money you can save from growing your own produce. If you’re opting to go the grow light route, be careful–to maximize growth you will need to keep the lights on for a huge chunk of the day. While such a light shouldn’t add too much to your electricity bill, make sure you put your garden someplace that you wouldn’t mind keeping bright during sleeping hours.