How to Build Your Own Apartment Garden

By now, we’ve all heard the hype about meal planning and how it’s a cost-effective way to save money on food. But have you gone a step further and ever thought about growing your own veggies, fruits and herbs to use in your everyday cooking?

Just because you rent an apartment, doesn’t mean you don’t have space or time to be able to grow beautiful plants that bring a gorgeous natural touch to your home. Whether you have a balcony or a simple window box, there are tons of different options when it comes to growing plants in your space. Here are just a few things to consider before you head to the garden center.

Plant size

First off, you’re going to want to keep the size and growth rate of plants in mind before purchasing. If a plant has a large size at maturity and grows like a weed, it will more than likely take over your space before you have the chance to enjoy it.

Amount of light

Also take a look at where you are planning on placing your plants. Does your balcony or window have direct sunlight for the majority of the day? Sun in the morning or evening? Will your plants get watered when it rains? These are all things to think about when planning your apartment garden oasis.

Maintenance needs

Finally, gauge your own habits and if you will be able to maintain a plant that requires daily care. If yes, there’s a broad range of plants that you’ll be able to get. If not, there are some great low-maintenance plants that will still brighten up your space!

If you are a kitchen aficionado, a mixologist, or someone who simply likes to have fresh produce on hand (just in case), then herbs are a great low space consumption option that will not only look pretty but function well in your home. Common herbs that grow well in most types of weather and sun include basil, mint, rosemary, and cilantro. When picking out herbs, it’s best to purchase a variety that will work well in different  dishes or drinks.

Pro tip: Wash out old aluminum cans to use as planters for herbs. Since herbs don’t need much space to take root, cans will have plenty of room for the plants to grow! Tie some burlap bows around the cans for a chic and rustic touch! 

If your growing area is warm and in constant sun, or if you simply don’t have the time or energy to take care of plants — there are couple of great options that allow for low maintenance gardening. Desert plants, like succulents and small cacti, will grow in anything (including piles of stones) and only need to be watered once a week or less! With an endless variety of sizes, colors, and shapes you can mix and match these adorable plants to add a modern finish to your apartment. Another option is chili peppers. If you enjoy cooking, different varieties of chilis are a great low-maintenance option as they tend to flourish in high sun and high heat environments!

Think vertical

For those without balconies, fear not! There are lots of ways to furnish your indoor space with plants. But make sure any planters you have indoors have containers underneath to catch any water that drains through pots after watering!  Otherwise you risk staining the floor or counter under the pot and have a problem when you move out. That being said, hanging baskets and vertical gardening can be a great way to optimize space in an indoor setting, especially if you have higher ceilings. If you plant Foxgloves in a planter and add a trellis in the planter as well, after a couple weeks you will notice the plant winding up the trellis into a column of purple, blue and pink blossoms that smell gorgeous! Adding hanging baskets from the ceiling will add dimension to your space as well as draw eyes upward, making your space look larger. If you are looking to vertically garden food in your apartment, trellis and tomatoes go hand-in-hand. Just make sure to regularly check for any pests that may attempt to make a home out of your plants!

Balcony or patio

If you have the luxury of an outdoor balcony, you can expand your gardening options to some larger plants and different layout options. If you enjoy fresh fruit, dwarf fruit trees can be fostered in an outdoor environment where they will need moderate sun and daily watering to flourish. Lemon trees are a great choice. Small apple trees, strawberry crops, blueberry bushes, and kale also lend themselves to growing in outdoor balconies.

If you’re more interested in using your balcony garden as an aesthetic place for entertaining or relaxation, plant flowers in rolling metal trash cans! This will allow you to easily rearrange your balcony or patio space without spilling dirt everywhere or injuring yourself during the move.

Just because you rent an apartment, doesn’t mean you won’t have the same ability to garden as in a regular home. It just means you need to find the style of gardening in an apartment that suits you best. Whether that means taking care of a fruit tree every day or watering your succulents only on Sundays, if there’s a will to plant — there’s a way!

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Author My First Apartment

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Digital marketing specialist from Milwaukee, WI. I semi-hibernate through Wisconsin winters and eventually make it to spring. My hobbies include reading, piano, the gym (gains?), and spoiling my puppy. I've never met a hobby I didn't like. Follow along on my journey of apartment triumphs and defeats, served with a hearty side of sarcasm.

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