If you live in an apartment or condo and are envious of your homeowner friends’ large gardens, it’s time to accept the gardening challenge. Whether you want to plant flowers or grow vegetables, no area is too small for Mother Nature to take hold. Don’t let your lack of outdoor space keep you from enjoying the popular hobby of gardening.
Bountiful Benefits Grow from Gardens
Gardening offers lots of benefits. Not only is it a great way to grow your own food and enjoy the outdoors, it is a gentle form of exercise. Many find weeding and watering their plants a way to relax and clear the mind. Even with limited space, you can create your own quiet retreat while making your garden grow.
Here are a few tips on getting started:
- Find the best location – You need at least 3-4 hours of direct sunlight.
- Know your zone – Where you live affects when you start planting.
- Get approval – Some apartment complexes and condo HOAs may have restrictions.
- Start small – You’ll be tempted to overindulge but start with a few plants first.
- Prepare your beds or containers properly – Good soil starts things off right.
- Space them out – Give your plants room to grow.
- Study growing habits – Native plants are the easiest to grow.
- Don’t overwater or over-fertilize – Not all plants need the same care.
- Beware of invasive plants – If the ad says fast growing, beware. Do your research.
- Not all bugs are bad – Don’t overuse insecticides. Bees and ladybugs are beneficial.
- Weed, weed, weed – Make it a habit. They sap nutrients from your plants.
Look for Planting Potential
Your imagination is the only limitation you face when gardening in a small space. Try thinking outside of the planter to create your own special oasis. Here are a few suggestions:
- Containers – Don’t limit yourself to flower pots. Anything that holds soil can be a planter including boots, buckets, tin cans, a child’s wagon or even a hat.
- Window boxes – There are some that do not have to be permanently mounted. Ones that attach to deck railings can blow over in windy conditions.
- Standing planters – If bending over is a problem for you, consider raised garden beds. They are easy to construct out of pressure treated lumber.
- Vertical gardens – An old wooden pallet or window shutter attached to a wall provides lots of planting potential.
As Urban Living Expands So Will the Need for Gardening
Many experts have predicted that by the year 2030 nearly 50% of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Adapting where our food sources originate and how we view our role in producing it is an issue facing our world today. Your little veggie garden isn’t as insignificant as you thought.
Veggies for Everyone!
If you have your heart set on planting a vegetable garden, start small. Ask your local garden shop which plants work well in containers. There are many tomato, lettuce, onion, kale and herb varieties that do well in compact spaces. If you share a balcony with a neighbor and you want to grow vines of beans, ask if they’d mind and then offer to share the harvest.
Reap the Benefits of Gardening
Gardening isn’t limited to those with large expanses of land. Growing flowers and vegetables in small plots or containers can be just as rewarding. Add some greenery to your life by starting a garden today. Join your local garden club or volunteer to work in a community garden. Let Mother Nature show you how to reap the benefits of planting a garden.
From shovels and rakes to tillers and wheelbarrows, our expert staff is always on hand to assist gardeners with their next DIY project. If you are interested in growing herbs, check out our previous blog, A Message to the Beginner of Herb Gardening, to learn great tips on selecting and planting the right varieties in your garden. As always, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-to’s, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.