If you have a passion for gardening, your dream apartment would include an acre of land around it to indulge in as much planting of crops as you wish. The reality for most of us is that we live in cities where space outside the apartment is practically non-existent. The clear message from this state of affairs is that we can’t all be farmers.
But if your heart is in the right place, it doesn’t mean you can’t plant some of your favorite food right inside your apartment. How to make a small garden in an apartment to grow crops is what we would be looking at here.
One of the underlining ideas of indoor gardening is how to take advantage of the small space available. Actually, even the smallest of spaces can host a thriving garden if executed right. The next good news is that undertaking a garden project in an apartment is easier than most people think.
Things to Consider When Choosing Where To Make A Small Garden in An Apartment
Having a passion for growing crops and an apartment are the two basic factors necessary to start an apartment garden project. But, since maximizing crop growth and yield are paramount, where to locate the garden is also very fundamental.
The following are some of the things to consider vis-a-vis the location of the garden:
- What part of the apartment gets the most sunlight daily? The answer is the best location for the garden.
- The garden must not be too close to artificial heat sources. These include the heat from the stove, oven, or radiator. Clearly, the kitchen won’t be such a hot idea to locate the garden if you have other choices.
Rooms with an extreme range of daily temperatures are also not ideal.
- Choose a spot that has great ventilation. Conversely, avoid spaces that are stuffy and instead opt for the location you can easily create a good breeze (by opening windows for example) if it comes to that.
- Easy accessibility to the plants at all times is also an important variable. You want a location you could easily water and tend to them. That said, you also don’t want the containers or planters to impede your ability to take care of non-garden chores.
How To Make A Small Garden In An Apartment
Now that you’ve settled the issue of where to locate the garden, it’s time to get down to the main task. Gardening in an apartment is closely linked to planting crops in all kinds of containers and other improvised planters.
This makes it convenient to maintain the garden in a small space. The use of containers also enhances the mobility of the garden: This’ an important aspect of indoor planting as you’d have many reasons to constantly move your plants from one location to the other.
Fortunately, the containers or planters used can be found anywhere. Even if you have to buy some, the dent on your savings would be small.
Popular Containers and Planters for Indoor Gardening
Plastic containers – Any large plastic bottle or pot would do. These are available in gardening or hardware stores. If you have old plastic bottles lying around in the apartment, you could easily recycle them for this purpose.
Ceramic pots – Aside from the fact that ceramic pots can get heavy, they are perfect for indoor gardening especially for crops like olives and citrus.
Smart pots – These have several advantages when it comes to growing crops inside an apartment. For instance, the large bottom part makes them very suitable for growing larger plants with extensive root systems.
Because they are made from a lightweight and porous material, they are also great for crops that need good soil drainage. You could also easily wash and fold them up when they are no longer needed.
Large tins – It shouldn’t be hard to find discarded tin cans such as biscuit tins. These are great for growing herbs and micro-herbs indoors.
Wooden Planters – If you are a DIYer, constructing a wooden planter using wood pallets (you could buy them or get some from a construction site) should be easy. Hundreds of amazing wooden planter ideas can be found online to get you started.
Wheelbarrow – Wheelbarrows make great containers for a movable indoor garden. You’ll find this convenient if you have to chase the sun for maximum exposure to sunlight.
You don’t have to use a new one. An old or second-hand wheelbarrow would do just okay. In preparing the garden to accept plants though, you’d have to drill holes in the base for drainage. A container to catch excess water dripping out should be placed underneath.
Glass jars/containers – Mason jars, vases, and vintage glass jugs make excellent planters for root vegetables and herbs such as spring onions, radish, and carrots.
Since most root systems prefer darkness to thrive, tinted glass containers would be preferable. Restricting light by covering the jars with black polythene would also work in the absence of tinted glass jars.
Making Optimal Use of the Apartment Space for Indoor Garden
Thinking about small space vegetable gardening?
It is important to consider how to maximize the indoor growing space to get the most from it. With careful planning, you’d be amazed by how much can be grown in a small space. Where and how to arrange the planters in the apartment is what this is all about.
We would look at some of the options available to you.
Consider vertical gardens
The walls and the top of high furniture in the apartment are places to keep containers. On walls, for instance, creating shelves to keep the plants is the easiest way to do this. Obviously, you’d choose the portion of a wall that is exposed to sunlight the most. You can construct several layers of shelves on this wall to hold your planters.
If constructing shelves on walls isn’t an option, keeping the plants on top of interior furniture such as tall cupboards, bookshelves, etc., are options to consider.
- Other vertical garden options for an apartment include
- Hang a shoe organizer on the wall to use as holders
- Construct a ‘planting tower’ using old plastic bottles.
For climbing crops, a trellis or a sunny wall can be used to support growth from the base containers.
These are just some of the creative ways to take advantage of the vertical space in an apartment for a garden. With a little bit of thought and research, you could easily come up with others.
Hanging gardens from the ceiling
Utilizing the apartment’s ceiling is another great way of optimizing your space. For this to turn out great though, leak-free containers are to be used. To avoid too much strain on the ceiling, medium to small-sized plants are recommended.
You can use hooks suspended from the ceiling to support the containers or hang several containers in line along a sturdy string on the ceiling.
Gardens on windowsills
Windowsills have served households for generations when it comes to apartment gardens. The containers or planters are placed on the inside sill. If the council/apartment regulations allow, one can install window boxes to grow the garden outside the window.
Make sure the window gets at least 6 hours of sunshine daily before taking on this option.
Making Compost for the Containers And Planters
Initially, you might have to buy all the needed compost for planting from a garden store or farm nearby. However, if you want to save money in the long run, making your own compost is the way to go.
Kitchen and household waste such as vegetable scraps, fruits scrap, cardboard, paper, and other waste that are compostable are some common ingredients for making compost.
A receptacle or container kept discretely out of the way under the kitchen sink is a perfect place to compost your waste. If you know how to make a bokashi bucket, you could use that efficiently to increase the amount of waste you compost.
What Can Be Grown in a Garden Apartment
The types and variety of crops that can be grown indoors would surprise anyone. Only the available space and time you have to tend to the garden can limit want can be grown.
Fact is, with careful planning, patience, and creativity, it’s possible to grow any plant indoors. But if you are a novice, cutting your teeth means starting small to limit the losses you might incur. Later, as you get better, you can graduate to more complex plants on a larger scale.
For a beginner with a small space, consider crops such as cress, loose-leaf lettuce, spinach, chard, radishes, spring onions, strawberries, thyme, and pea shoots.
When you are sure of your footing in indoor gardening, you can move on to growing crops such as tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, peas, beans, beetroots, etc.
Watering your indoor garden
It is very important to stick to a strict watering schedule vis-a-vis the needs of the plant. Essentially, this means you have to educate yourself on every plant’s water needs to get the best. Veteran gardeners know for a fact that different plants have different water requirements. You don’t want to over/under-water your precious crops.
Also, if you have a choice, always use rainwater for the plants since it has more nutrients than tap water. If it’s possible, harvest as much rainwater as possible and store it in a tank somewhere.
But if harvesting rainwater is not possible, always leave the tap water out overnight before using it on your plants.
Though creating a small garden in an apartment comes with a lot of challenges, it is not as difficult as many folks imagine. It is also very easy and cheap to get it off the ground and the rewards are very satisfying considering you are doing your own bit to help the planet by growing your own food.
The size of your garden or the crops you’ll plant depends largely on the amount of space in the apartment. But with a bit of creativity, that small space can be optimized for planting a lot of crops without taking up too much space.