Tips for Gardening in a Small Space
Living in an apartment can seem to limit your options when it comes to gardening. However, living in a small space doesn’t have to keep you from growing your own flowers, herbs and vegetables. Imagine being able to come home from a long day and enjoy fresh veggies that you have grown yourself. All that’s required is to get a little creative and make use of the space you do have.
Some Creative Options
Look around your apartment block, and you should be able to find a usable space to start growing. If you are allowed, growing a small plot can get you plenty of fresh air and sunlight to work with. Growing plants on a retaining wall or in a small flower bed are some additional in-ground options.
If actually planting in the ground won’t work, consider using pots instead. Some basic pots work well if you have the patio space, or look at some vertical options. Rain gutters make a great DIY option as they are already set up to provide drainage and they can be hung one above the other. If you don’t want to suspend your vertical garden, use an old shipping pallet instead, next to a wall.
Looking for more space to hang pots from? Small plants could be kept indoors next to a sunny window. Just be sure anything you hang is secure, so you don’t lose your veggies or accidently cause damage to the walls.
What to Plant
What you decide to plant will, of course, depend on the time of year and the amount of sunlight you will be able to get to your plants. Springtime is a great time to plant herbs, which can later be taken inside to last through the colder months. If you enjoy Indian and Vietnamese food, plant the bright and citrusy coriander. If Italian is more your style, plant some basil and oregano. For basic meat and seafood, parsley will make a great last-minute addition. For lamb, consider marjoram or rosemary. If you need a herb that does well in shady, moist areas, get some mint. It makes a great tea or addition to juices and lemonade.
If vegetables sound more appealing than herbs, tomatoes and other small vegetables work best in pots. Greens are also great pot plants. All types of lettuce, garlic, Asian veggies, carrots and radishes can all be planted in pots and make a complete, fresh salad when they are ready to be picked.
Caring for Your Garden
Once you have found your space and selected your plants, it’s time to take care of them, so they grow up nice and healthy. Start by selecting the right soil. It’s important in potted plants to not skimp on getting good quality soil that is free-draining, as all of the nutrients your plants will get will be from that soil. In addition, make sure the container you use has plenty of drainage holes.
Next, think about water and sunlight. Most plants will need full or partial sun, but a few do better in shade, so be sure to find out what each plant needs. The great thing about containers is they are portable, so if you don’t get full sun in any one area, you can easily move the plant throughout the day. Young plants generally need to be watered once a day, but once they are grown, you will want to limit it to every couple of days, depending on how quickly the soil dries out. Keep in mind that pots in full sun and heat will dry out much faster than those in a shady, cool area.
Finally, certain plants will do better if you provide some fertilizer, while others do better without them. Once again, look into the particular plants you will be growing to see if a liquid fertilizer should be applied every three weeks or so.
Planting your first garden on your own can get overwhelming, so take any questions you have to a local nursery or Bunnings where an experienced gardener should be able to give you more information.