Apartment farming


Living in an apartment doesn’t mean living without plants. Just because you live in a small space without a backyard or grassy lawn to mow, doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your health and mental prosperity by shunning the idea of a garden. Don’t pass up what your perfect apartment can offer; garden beds can take so many more forms than just those that require digging up a plot of land. When it comes to having a garden, space is not an issue. You can grow plants just about anywhere. So even if you live in a tiny apartment you can grow some green. Why stop with pretty flowers?

Consider growing your own herbs, fruits and vegetables and really indulge your garden senses. If you have a balcony, patio, rooftop, or just a few simple sunny windows, are ideal places for plants. You can take advantage of apartment gardening techniques that will have you both eating healthier and enjoying the benefits of getting your hands dirty during the propagation of productive vegetation.

First is to start small. Apartment dwellers outdoor container garden idea is much easier to do if you use self-watering containers with reservoirs that hold enough water to keep the soil moist without constant attention. Outdoor containers, particularly in full sun, dry out quickly on hot days and may need watering more than once a day in the heat of the dry season. With a self -watering container, you don’t have to arrange your life around a watering schedule. Before you choose your plant, watch to see how much sun your space receives. Eight hours of direct sunlight per day is considered full sun. Four to six hours is considered partial shade and less is shade. Evaluate and choose the plants appropriate for the amount of sunlight available. If you enjoy relaxing evenings outdoor consider growing plants that release their fragrance at night, such as nicotiana and moonflower.

For small spaces, choose plants that grow up rather than out. Bushy shrubs can soften the appearance of the patio but they take up a lot of space. Choose columnar or pyramidal plants for tight spaces. Above all choose plants that thrive in your apartment garden conditions, look good, fit well in the space and appeal to you. Learn how to make the most of your indoor garden space by choosing plants that grow well in a variety of different locations. Reserve bright windowsills for flowering plants that need lots of sun. Plants with variegated foliage such as croton and polka dot plant develop best color near a bright window out of direct light. Peace lilies and cast iron plants are noted for their ability to thrive in dim corners and recesses of your apartment.

Small potted plants look more appealing in groups. Placing them in small clusters raises the humidity in the surrounding air and results in healthier plants. Hanging baskets are a great way to display trailing plants, and leaves table tops for plants that are best seen at or below eye level. Small trees add tranquility and tropical appeal to an indoor setting. Keep in mind that palms can’t be pruned back. Palms grow slowly and if you choose small specimens you’ll save money and enjoy them for several years. Indoor fruit trees and flowering trees need long periods of bright sunlight everyday. Peace lilies, pothos are among the easiest plants to grow and NASA studies have shown that they filter toxins such as ammonia, formaldehyde and benzene from the air. Other good plants that improve air quality include date palms, rubber plants and weeping figs

The Best Plants to Grow in an Apartment Garden
You can grow just about anything in a container. A full-size banana tree might be out of the question, but there are dwarf varieties that can fit in a 1 ft. sq. corner of your balcony. Think about what you enjoy eating and then choose a few types of plants to try out. You can start with seeds, which offer more variety, but small plants will get your garden growing sooner.
Be sure to research the plants you are choosing before you make your final decision based on their specific lighting needs, and the sizes they will reach. For example, of the hundreds of tomatoes you could choose from, be sure to pick those with a more compact growth, and not a heirloom variety that could reach 6 feet in height and 3 feet sideways, and essentially take over your entire garden.

Edibles
Herbs and Mints

Herbs are probably the easiest edible plants to get started with. They flourish in smaller containers, and can be grown year-round in your windowsill using indirect lighting.

Greens and Lettuce
Cut-and-grow-again plants, such as spinach, greens, and lettuce varieties will not only provide you an endless supply of salad greens (or health shake additions!), but also brighten up your space with shades of vibrant green!

Tomatoes
Tomatoes are crazy easy to grow, but they prefer bright, sunny areas. Make sure they get the sunlight they deserve to produce the produce you crave

Peppers
Bell peppers, banana peppers, cayenne peppers… The list is seemingly endless, but they all love sunlight, so be sure to place them where they will get what they need.

Squashes, Melons, and Cucumbers
Yes, there really are small plant varieties of these that produce slightly smaller-size fruits and grow well within container confines.

Dwarf Citrus Trees
Consider putting in self-pollinating dwarf citrus trees, if you really want to go out on a limb.

Flowering
Even though your edibles will bloom and produce, cheery annuals such as petunias, pansies, lantanas, begonias, and geraniums can bring life to the drabbest cityscape.Patio roses also do well since hybridized miniature and dwarf rose varieties now exist. These have the added benefit of coming back to life year after year. If you have an empty wall, you may also want to consider a temporary trellis, and grow a flowering annual vine.

Houseplants
Gardening, by definition, doesn’t mean you need to have a product for your kitchen at the end of the day. If you are unsure of stepping into the unknown realm of food production, consider starting with houseplants. They help filter the air, produce oxygen, provide a relaxing atmosphere, and can aide in both sleeping and waking.

Plant Needs
Like all living organisms, plants have basic needs for their survival, and you’ll want to consider these basics before making your choice on individual plants. The easiest way to determine your specific plants needs is to read the information that comes with your plant (or seed packet).

Sunlight
Some plants do fine with strong indirect light all day, and others need a minimum of 5 hours of direct sunlight to thrive. It just depends on which variety of plant you choose since many have been hybridized to withstand ‘unnatural’ conditions to make it easier for you to grow them. Incorrect sunlight doesn’t mean you will kill your plant, but you may not get the outcome you desire concerning flowering or vegetable production.

Soils
Most plants do well in a slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH up to 7.0). If you are taking on an acid-loving plant, simply provide an acidic fertilizer to that soil, making sure to follow the directions on the bag.

Water
Everything needs water to survive, but overwatering is far more common in plant deaths than not providing enough, and a way to combat this is to not water your plant until the top 2 inches of soil is dry.

Fertilizer
A lot of energy goes into flowering and fruit production, so give your plants a boost with a fertilizer specific to potted plants, or producing plants.Compost is also an excellent way to provide nutrients organically and is no longer a backyard project! With technology come new products to try, such as kitchen composters for use in your apartment.

Support
Some of your plants may need support as they grow so consider staking, or providing a cage to help keep them well-supported during production.

Gardening Perks For Your Health
I’ve mentioned many times the health benefits of keeping plants. Apartments living can occasionally feel confining. Opening those windows and doors improves air quality and sunlight provides you with much needed vitamin D. Caring for vegetation is mentally stimulating as well and get your brain and body moving. When caring for and learning about plants care, you are exercising your critical thinking skills, which is proven to ward off memory loss. Gardening relieves stress and anxiety, and also provides you with purposeful focus, and it helps you eat healthier and save money in the process.

Ready To Start?
By this point I hope you have put aside your reservation about digging in dirt and are looking forward to making apartment gardening your newest project. It is an incredibly beneficial task, aiding in both physical and mental health as well as well providing you with a pleasing atmosphere and additional aesthetics.

In this article:
Sereba Agiobu-Kemmer
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