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Vegetable Gardens for Apartment Living

By Edited Jan 6, 2016 2 1

Apartment dwellers that want to have a vegetable garden have special conditions to deal with.  They do not have a yard to dig up and have to get a little creative with their gardening.  You can grow healthy vegetables in an apartment.  You just have to work with what you have.

Finding a spot to Garden in an Apartment

Choosing a location for the garden is as important to a person living in an apartment as it is to someone who has a multi-acre home.  The plants need space to grow, soil to grow in, and nutrients to feed them.

Windowsill Gardens

The first place to check out is by the window.  You can grow many plants just using the light that you get from different windows.  South facing windows are best for full sun plants.  South facing windows get all day sun.  East facing windows are best for plants that can deal with a little less light.  East facing windows get direct morning sun and will get indirect light the rest of the day.  West facing windows get full sun in the afternoon and indirect light in the morning.  Most vegetables like as much sun as they can get.  If you have the time and energy, you can move your plants from window to window to maximize your lighting conditions.

Patio Gardens

If you live on a ground floor apartment, you might be lucky enough to be able to have a patio garden.  Growing plants on a patio is easy as long as you have light and containers.  The larger the patio is the more you can grow.  If you have a fence you can try growing vertically to get even more space.

Rooftop Gardens

The opposite of a patio garden is a rooftop garden.  If you have access to and permission to grow on a rooftop, you are (hopefully) above the shade and will have plenty of sunlight to work with.  Weight is a consideration but not as big of a deal as it is on a balcony garden.  Before you get all crazy with your plants make sure that you have easy access to water.  You do not want to be lugging jugs of water around your rooftop to keep your plants watered.  Plants will generally dry out fastest on the rooftop garden.  Your plants will have more exposure to the elements on a rooftop.

Balcony Gardens

Balcony gardens are where weight matters.  You really need to use lightweight soil and containers here.  Balconies are a bit like windows, except you only get one of them.  The direction that your balcony faces will be a factor in what plants that you can grow. 

Plants to Grow in an Apartment

Ok – I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you probably will not be able to grow corn or potatoes on your windowsill.  You can grow many other crops in spall spaces.  Radishes, tomatoes, carrots, and such can be grown if you give them the right space and light.  Root crops need a deep and light soil to grow.  Tomatoes like a lot of light and there are smaller versions that you can grow in smaller spaces.

Fertilizing Your Plants

Unlike free-range garden plants, your potted plants cannot root into the soil to find nutrients.  It is vital to the health of your vegetables that you give them the appropriate fertilizer for the type of plant you are growing.

Using Grow Lights

If you use grow lights, you can grow vegetables that require more light than you can get naturally.  You can also use them for starting seedlings that you can transplant later. 

Containers for Your Plants

If you are going to be growing plant on a balcony or moving plants around lightweight plastic pots are things that you should consider.   Clay pots are great but can add too much weight to the apartment garden.  If you grow your garden, on a patio, clay pots can work but I would avoid them on a balcony.

Growing a garden in an apartment setting is challenging but not impossible.  You just have to figure out what you have to work with and how to make it work.  If you use the right combination of plants, pots, sunlight, and soil you have grow a great vegetable or herb garden in your small space.  Your apartment will be set up different than another persons and you will have to learn your conditions and adapt your plans to suit them.

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Apr 1, 2011 8:47pm
A very comprehensive article. It's great to grow your own vegetables whatever your situation and this will certainly give those living in small areas some great ideas.
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