You don’t have to sacrifice your love of gardening just because you’re living your big city dreams-or maybe you’re a total gardening newbie. While it’s lovely to have a spacious lawn and plot ideal for growing your own flowers, veggies and herbs, the reality is that gardening doesn’t actually require a lot of space. In reality, it doesn’t even require a lawn or yard at all. Urban or apartment gardening is spreading like weeds, and tucking into your studio or flat for the winter is the perfect time to get your garden in order.
An added bonus of apartment gardening is that it can be very therapeutic. There are many plusses to city life, but the downside is that it’s challenging to get back to nature. Too much time in the urban jungle can lead to stress and generally feeling blue, but the peaceful, nurturing ambiance of a garden can provide great therapy. Here’s how to get your apartment garden blossoming (and get spring started early).
Container plants can be just as fruitful and enjoyable as those grown in a garden. Whether you have a small balcony, patio, roof or even a windowsill available, there’s some part of your apartment that gets natural sunlight. The type of plant that will flourish in your apartment depends largely on where you live, the temperature and availability of sunlight. However, popular apartment choices include peppers, small tomatoes, lettuce and Farmers Long Japanese eggplant.
Start by choosing the right site and check what your plant demands in terms of sunlight and protection from winds. Warm-season veggies like tomatoes need a minimum of six hours of sun per day and are vulnerable to hot winds. However, ferns and other shade lovers need some safeguarding from the sun and are ideal for apartment dwellers who don’t get much natural light.
Prep Your Container
You can match the container’s design and colors to your décor; just make sure a drain hole is at the bottom. A simple screen can be added to keep the soil inside, and adding a saucer to collect extra moisture that leaks out is a good idea. Just like with children, buy a size larger container so the plant can easily mature. Vegetables do best in containers that are 14 inches in diameter, and the potting mixture should be fast draining while still holding in moisture. Your local garden center will be happy to advise you of just the perfect soil and nutrients.
When it comes to watering, if you’ve worked in a garden in the past, keep in mind that more watering is required for container plants. Sometimes, if the weather gets exceptionally hot and/or windy, watering numerous times per day may be necessary. A thorough and even watering is required to ensure the drainage holes are reached. With fertilization, a bi-monthly liquid option during growth season is an easy method to use.
Most importantly, choose a plant that you will truly enjoy whether it’s the aroma of rosemary or miniature limes to feed your addiction. It’s always best to choose plants which are naturally local, as they’re already attuned to the environment (this is less important if you’ll be keeping the plants indoors). There’s something magical about caring for a living thing, but be forewarned-those whimsical fantasies of moving to the suburbs will likely be squashed when you have the best of both worlds in your city apartment.