Microgardening for Condo and Apartment Living

Written by Brian Enright

Container Garden PatioThese days, people are recognizing the benefits of growing their food in gardens, including better-tasting and healthier food and cleaner air. But unfortunately, many of these same people are often discouraged from growing a garden due to a lack of garden space, especially those who live in an condo, apartment or a small home. However, a variety of gardening options exist for people with a limited amount of space. Even in tight living quarters, plants can be grown in small pots and placed around rooms in stacking planters or windowsills, and vertical planters can be placed against walls so they are out of the way. With a little effort, every anyone can have a healthy and productive micro-garden.

Herbs

Fresh herbs are a popular type of plant to grow indoors, whether you have a small space or not, as they can be very useful for cooking. Herb plants adapt easily to growing in little pots and require minimal maintenance. The easiest herbs to grow indoors include basil, chives, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme. Each of these herbs has slightly different growing instructions based on the amount of moisture or sunlight needed, but none of them are too hard to handle indoors. Light is the most critical factor for producing healthy herbs. The most straightforward solution in apartment and condo living is to place your plants in an east- or south-facing window, thus allowing the plants to receive sufficient light. Potted herbs lining the windows not only provide flavors for cooking, but they also clean and fragrance the air. During warmer months, you can also make use of patio areas by growing herbs in hanging baskets or on multi-layered vertical stands. Add additional gardening space by attaching planters both vertically and on top of patio railings. Not only will growing on a patio produce larger plants, but it also creates a calm and enjoyable area outdoors to sit in and relax.

Fruit-Bearing Plants

Growing fruits and vegetables indoors and in small spaces is not something that very many people do, but it can be done. Fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, peas, beans, artichokes, and more all grow very well in small containers and indoors. Tomatoes grow in full sun, and so they need to be placed near a window where they will receive the most sunlight during the day. Plant them in a medium-sized pot, and position a tomato cage or lattice in the container so that the plant will have support as it grows. Generally, tomatoes are ready to harvest 60 to 80 days after planting, and they can be grown year-round indoors. Seasonal producers such as strawberries grow well indoors, too, and they require less sunlight than tomatoes. They do best growing in hanging pots, and the soil should be kept moist but not saturated. Peas and beans also do well indoors as long as they have good drainage, sunlight, and something to climb as they grow up out of the pot. Carrots need to be planted in a container that is at least 12 inches deep and has good drainage, but they, too, can fare well indoors. As they grow, watch for the top of the carrot to reach approximates 3/4 inch in diameter; this is when they are ready to be harvested.