Gardening in an Apartment – A Beginner’s Guide

With industrialization and the growing real estate in many urban areas, there’s little to no available land for agriculture, hence the need for gardening in an apartment and developing sustainable agriculture. If you’re passionate about growing things, or you feel the need to grow your food or some of it, you can do so by gardening in your apartment.

To successfully garden in an apartment, you need a guide on getting started, and you should know what requirements should be in place. You’ll need to ensure that you have a platform that can carry your container’s weight, you should have good sunlight and water access, and know how to deal with weeds.

In this article, you’ll have all the information you need to start gardening in an apartment, including where your apartment garden should be, the foods you can grow in an apartment, and how you can start your gardening in an apartment.

Requirements for Gardening in an Apartment

Gardening outdoors and indoors follows the same principles and requires the same things. Although nature provides almost all that you need for gardening, including light, water, and air, you’ll need to provide the same conditions if you’re gardening indoors.

Gardening in an apartment
Gardening in an apartment

What you need for gardening in an apartment include:

Growing Medium

Your garden’s growth medium depends on how much dirt you’re comfortable with. The most common growth medium for both outdoors and indoor gardening is soil. You can have soil in a pot, bag, or any other dedicated breathable container for your vegetable garden.

You’ll have to sterilize your soil before potting them to remove all microorganisms, including the bad ones. However, you can use other growth media, such as cocopeat.

Humidity

The amount of moisture in the atmosphere is what is humidity and it is an important factor in the health and growth of your plants. If you’re gardening in an apartment, you’ll need to know the right humidity for your plants and maintain it.

The amount of water you supply to your plants, temperature, and ventilation, affect the humidity in an indoor garden. However, you can control the humidity in a room to favor your plants by installing the necessary equipment, such as fans and humidifiers.

Light

Arguably the most important vegetable growth factor, light needs to be present for certain hours in your apartment garden. Regardless of where you decide to site your garden in your apartment, they should have enough light for a good length of the day.

Because different plants have different sensitivities to light intensity and duration, you may have to create a controlled light (artificial grow-lights) for your indoor garden.

Temperature

Temperature is important for germinating seeds and the reproductive phases of plants. Different plants have different temperature requirements; hence, you’ll need to raise vegetables that have similar temperature and humidity requirements in the same area.

Temperatures that are higher than your plants need may lead to wilt and death of those plants through rapid moisture loss.

Water

Moisture helps to keep vegetables turgid and upright. Since vegetables have a high water composition, you can expect that they need enough water to sustain their growth and development; however, water requirements for veggies vary.

The more higher-than-necessary water you supply to your veggies, the more you expose them to fungal infections. Therefore, the right amount of water is important for gardening in an apartment.

Nutrients

Can living organisms survive without food? Gardening in an apartment means supplying your vegetables with everything they’ll need for good growth and yield, including adequate nutrients.

Nitrogen, Potassium, and Phosphorus are some of the most important nutrients that your veggies should have. Others include carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. However, micronutrients such as molybdenum, copper, and manganese, are also important for plant growth and yield.

Where to Garden in an Apartment

Gardening used to be for the outdoors but with evolving times, you can now your vegetable garden anywhere in your home – outdoors and indoors. There are different parts of your home that can serve as a garden, and they include:

A corner of your home

You can choose a corner of any room in your house for gardening. All you need to do is to ensure that the corner has enough light and ventilation to support the growth of your veggies. If you have more vegetables to grow and one corner will be too small for them, you can use different corners of appropriate rooms in your home.

The important thing is to ensure there are adequate growth factors present in the corners you’ve chosen.

Gardening in a dedicated corner
Gardening in a dedicated corner

Your window sill

Placing flowers in pots on a window sill is common in many homes. This position can also be adapted for vegetable gardening. Usually, the window ensures that the plants get sunlight and air from outdoors. However, the window sill isn’t an appropriate place to grow your vegetables during the cold months, especially if your veggies aren’t tolerant of cold.

Your balcony

A convenient and relatively expanse of space that can accommodate your vegetables on your balcony. You can have vegetable grow bags or pots on your balcony to hold your veggies.

An advantage of this position is the exposure of your veggies to light and air. Also, you have more space to grow vegetables than on the window sill. However, you may need to take your plants indoors when winter comes, or the humidity becomes too low.

A dedicated room

While you need light and ventilation for good vegetable growth, you can still get these things in a dedicated room in your apartment. If you have an empty room, you can repurpose it for indoor gardening.

You’ll need to provide lighting, and moisture, and improve ventilation in this room to aid good plant growth. You can purchase indoor grow lights, a humidifier, and a fan for the room; they’ll help your plant grow with vigor, and you can have veggies all year round. However, you’ll incur more costs in power consumption.

Gardening in a dedicated room
Gardening in a dedicated room

What Foods Can you Grow in an Apartment?

You can grow every food that you can in an outdoor garden in an apartment garden although they may require more care and effort from you. However, you can limit your choice of plants to vegetables when gardening in an apartment. Foods you can consider growing in an apartment garden include:

Leafy vegetables

  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Bok Choy
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Kale

Fruit vegetables

  • Tomatoes
  • Peas
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelon

How to Start Gardening in an Apartment

To start gardening in an apartment, you need to understand the physiology and requirements of the vegetables you wish to grow, especially under restricted indoor conditions. Afterward, you can begin the process of collecting all that you need to create your apartment garden.

The process begins with:

Knowing what to plant

You need to choose what to plant. You can’t possibly plant every vegetable you’d like to have as an apartment garden offers you limited space. However, choosing the most desirable veggies will make gardening easier for you.

You also need to know the growth requirements for the vegetables you’ve chosen. It’ll be easier for you if your vegetables have similar growing conditions and requirements.

Choosing an appropriate place for your garden

Your choice of vegetables will inform where you should place them. Larger vegetables, such as cucumbers, lettuce, cabbage, and watermelon may not be suitable for your window sill. You need to choose an appropriate place for your vegetables in your apartment.

A dedicated room as your apartment garden will suffice for any type of vegetable. Also, your balcony can take some plants such as tomatoes and spinach. However, as gardening in an apartment without a balcony can be tricky, your window sill and room corners will do.

Selecting a growth medium

It is common to use soil as a growth medium; however, other choices include rice husk, cocopeat, compost, bark, Coco coir, and many more. Your choice of growing medium influences some other practices you have to do.

You may need to sterilize your soil before potting. However, you can easily get ready-to-use soil from any gardening store. They are usually sterilized and free from any microbes that may cause diseases to your veggies.

Adding nutrients to your growth medium

Your growing medium needs to hold nutrients for your veggies. You can acquire organic fertilizers from any gardening store around you. They’ll contain nutrients – Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium – to start a plant life. However, as your veggies mature, you’ll need other nutrients, including calcium, magnesium, and boron, for their reproductive phase. The gardening store attendant can guide you on the right choice of organic fertilizer.

Availing other growth factors to your plants

Depending on the apartment garden site – your balcony, window sill, or a dedicated room, you may have to purchase other growth determinants for your veggies. Balcony and window sill apartment gardens require less than a dedicated room will.

You may have to purchase grow lights, fans, and humidifiers for your dedicated room and garden space.

Sowing

Now that all that your garden needs is in place, you can sow your seed or planting material. Ensure that you water your potted soil or other growing media after sowing.

Maintaining your garden

As your veggies grow, there’s the possibility that weeds will grow with them, especially if your growing medium contains some weed seeds. Pull them out to avoid competition for light and nutrients with your veggies.

Also, you’ll have to supply water, light, and nutrients as required by your vegetables of choice.

Maintaining your apartment garden
Maintaining your apartment garden

Final Thought

Regardless of how small your apartment is, you can begin to practice sustainable agriculture through gardening in a little space in your apartment. Peas, tomatoes, and peppers are some of the common foods you can grow in your apartment garden. Your balcony, window sill, or a dedicated room are suitable places you can site your apartment garden.

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