Grow Your Own Food

Grow Your Own Food | Greystar Blog

Last week, we talked about healthy home cooking and the environmental (and financial!) benefits of making your own meals.  You can reap even more of those benefits if you can grow some of your own food.  Apartment gardening is not only healthy for you, it can be entertaining, a fun learning experience and make your place look great, too.

Before you run out and buy your plants, you need to decide what you want to grow.  Today we’re going to discuss edible plants, but you may want to grow flowers or plants that just look or smell great.  There are also some plants that help refresh the air in your apartment by absorbing the VOC’s, and some plants are pet-friendly (and some might make them sick).  We’ll talk about them next time.

Here are some edible plants that are relatively easy to grow in apartments:

  • Carrots
  • Beans
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Green Onions
  • Spinach
  • Strawberries
  • Mint
  • Basil

If you can, try to buy the dwarf or small varieties of these plants from the gardening store.  You don’t want to have to work like a farmer to tend your crops.  It’s better to start small and work your way up, but it’s nice to have some variety, and your plants will grow at different rates.

Next you need to decide where you want to put your plants.  Keeping your plants on your balcony or patio is best, but a nice sunny spot by the window is great too.  Vegetable plants need at least 5-6 hours of sunlight a day, but do better with 9-10 hours.  They love fresh air and direct sunlight, so you may need to open a window or buy a grow lamp if they are not thriving.

Now you need to decide what kind of containers you want to use for your plants.  Be creative.  You don’t have to stick with boring plastic or clay pots.  Your gardening store will have lots to choose from, but you can make your own from any kind of container or large jar.  Just make sure to put rocks in the bottom for drainage, before you put in the potting soil.  Ideally you should put a hole in the bottom of your container with a plate or dish underneath, because your plants will need to be watered daily and drowning the roots will kill the plants, too. TIP: Be thoughtful when watering plants on your balcony so as not to overwater and potentially impact the space of a neighbor below you.

Hopefully, this is enough information to get you started with your apartment garden and healthy living.  You will find that fresh vegetables and herbs are always better than store bought.  Remember, all of our ancestors did this for a living at some time, so you have the ability somewhere in you to grow a couple of plants.  So have fun with it, keep those plants moist and enjoy your harvest.  Be sure to check out this related post: How to Create a Great Outdoor Living Space for Your Apartment.