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Apartment gardening – how to be sustainable in the smallest of places

Emma Rowan

There’s a common misconception that you can only grow your own food if you have a substantial area to garden, this is actually not the case! If you live in an apartment and want to begin growing your own food, look no further! We’ve got you covered with some tips and tricks on how to ensure your small garden can flourish.

Containment
Consider using containers when planting in your apartment (you can purchase reusable, environmentally friendly ones at Bunnings). Containers come in a variety of shapes/sizes, meaning you can choose according to the amount of room you have and the plants you are growing. Bonus, you can also transport containers easily if you move out.

Soil
Because there is a good chance your plants will be growing in a container, it is extremely important your potting mix can drain easily, otherwise water and air flow may be limited, preventing the plants from flourishing.

Sunlight
There’s no denying that a majority of plants require an extensive level of sunlight, (usually, 6-8 hours daily), so if possible, try and place on a balcony or rooftop. If this is not possible, consider growing smaller plants that can sit on your windowsills or plants (such as herbs) that do not require as much sunlight.

Water
Plants in containers require a substantial amount of water, so consider placing near a water source. This could be on the windowsills in the bathroom or kitchen. If outside/on the rooftop, you could consider purchasing a watering can. Make sure you are also able to dedicate a time to water a few times daily (i.e. when you get in the morning, and after dinner).

Wind
Apartments can sometimes be quite windy, especially on the balcony. If you live in a windy city, ensure your plants are properly anchored and sturdy in the soil, to prevent them from being ripped out.

So, you’ve got the info, but what plants are best for smaller spaces? Here are our top three that can be used in everyday cooking:

Herbs – Being so small, it is easy to simply place them on a windowsill or even on the bench in the kitchen if sunlight permits. Ensure you water regularly, and enough sunlight is received. Use in your cooking to add some flavour!
Tomatoes – require minimal effort, with the only real necessity being 12 hours of sunlight daily, so ensure these are either out on the balcony, or on a sunny windowsill.
Greens, greens, greens – We’ve all been known to buy a bag of spinach, place it in the fridge and the next day it’s already gone bad! Let’s say no to that and grow our own! The soil for these is required to be moist and warm constantly, so it is best to grow in warmer parts of the country. Sunlight is also important. Here is a more in depth guide: https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/landscaping-and-hardscaping/how-to-plant-an-indoor-salad-garden

Sources

Apartment gardening for beginners. (n.d.). The Spruce. Retrieved September 7, from https://www.thespruce.com/apartment-gardening-for-beginners-4178600
HGTV. (2014, November 25). How to plant an indoor salad garden. Retrieved September 7, from https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/landscaping-and-hardscaping/how-to-plant-an-indoor-salad-garden

How to grow vegetables in your apartment. (2020, April 18). Airtasker Blog. Retrieved September 7, from https://www.airtasker.com/blog/grow-vegetables-apartment/
Romano, A. (2015, June 7). 15 edible plants you can grow in your tiny apartment. Mashable. Retrieved September 7, from https://mashable.com/2015/06/07/plants-you-can-grow-in-apartments/

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