How to Grow Your Own Indoor Garden
Living in an apartment with limited space doesn’t mean you have to give up on developing your green thumb. It’s more than possible to grow fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and beautiful flowering plants and shrubs in small spaces like a patio or even a window box.
Start the process by selecting the ideal location for your apartment vegetable garden. For apartment dwellers, this can be tricky, but a few options include a patio or balcony, or a front or backyard if you’re on the ground level. It’s also possible to grow herbs and vegetables in windowsill boxes or vertical garden planters; however, these both need to be secured to a wall, so be sure to check with your property manager. (If you happen to be a Neighbor at Madera in Mountain View, ask about growing your goodies in the community herb garden!)
If you have a big window that lets in plenty of light, you can set plants on the ledge (if there’s enough room), or set up a small table and place containers there. Just make sure that the area you’re placing your window box or container gets plenty of light.
Once you’ve settled on a location, determine how much sunlight the area gets. There are four main categories:
- Full sun: 6 or more hours of direct sunlight
- Partial sun: 4-5 hours of direct sunlight
- Partial shade: 2-4 hours of direct sunlight
- Shade: Less than 1 hour of direct sunlight
Once you know how much sunlight your future garden’s location gets, you can decide which vegetables, fruits, herbs and plants to grow. This Farmer’s Almanac resource can help you identify which garden plants will do well in your space.
When deciding which garden plants to grow, it’s also helpful to ask yourself:
What do I like to eat and use a lot of? This may seem obvious, but it’s an important question—you don’t want to plant items that you won’t enjoy. When working with a small space, you want to get the most out of it, so make sure you’re focusing on items that you love.
What season is it? Certain herbs, fruits and vegetables only grow in certain temperatures, so consult the Farmer’s Almanac plant resource to make sure you are in the right environment and season for the items you’ve selected.
If you’re living in an apartment, chances are you’ll be growing a container garden, which is growing vegetables, fruits, and plants within a container rather than in the ground. Select containers that give your plants plenty of room to grow, and fill them with dirt and then the seeds. It’s helpful to purchase containers in a variety of sizes, so you can arrange them in a way that they all receive sunlight and can also benefit from each other. Make sure that you’re selecting containers that have drainage holes on the bottom so that excess water will drain away.
Once all your items are planted, make sure to arrange them in the space so that every container is getting the amount of sunlight. You may want to use a tiered shelf to maximize space. Just make sure you provide yourself plenty of room to navigate through the pots and water them!
Do you have a garden or plants each year? Share your best tips below!