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How to Garden in Your Apartment – When Canned Goods Just Don’t Cut It

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If you are like me, and live in an apartment building or condo, you may be wondering, how to garden in an apartment.  Without a backyard it seems impossible right?  Wrong!  You can grow more than petunias on your balcony and consistently produce organic, fresh foods that will keep you and your family healthy during a crisis.  If you have been reading my posts, I have written about canned foods and freeze dried foods, and by building your own garden in your apartment, you can have a fresh compliment of veggies and herbs to keep your meals interesting.

Backyard Not Required

Balconies, patios, terraces, whatever you want to call them, are generally code for “tiny outdoor space” and are sought after in urban living.  Some balconies can be a small as 25 sq ft, but that shouldn’t stop you from growing a bountiful, nutrient rich vegetable garden.  In fact, there are numerous products and DIY projects that can help you grow your own veggies year after year.albahabaca-808420_1280

Traditionally we see large plots of land used to grow fresh food, but with a little research, you can purchase or build a garden that is very efficient while enjoying the beauty of mother nature.  The trick is to find something that grows vertically!

Forget the Garbage Chute

Most of us dump our food waste down the garbage chute, but when gardening in an apartment, you can use make your own table scraps and provide great nutritious food for your plants to keep them growing healthy and strong and it’s great for the environment.

Reasons Why You Should Compost

  1. Your garbage is almost half organic product – you can reduce your garbage by 40% through composting
  2. Your plants will love it!
  3. It’s super easy to do
  4. Less garbage produced means less garbage trucks clogging up our city streets
  5. You can easily set up a composter on your balcony

What Can I Grow?

Pretty much anything! I recommend hearty veggies that grow well in your local climate and herbs to add variety to your meals.

You may want to consider:

  • Tomatoescarrots-155714_1280
  • Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Eggplant
  • Basil
  • Oregano

These are just a few ideas to get you started, and you may want to play around with it a little until you find what works best for you.  The best part is, flower boxes, planters or vertical gardens don’t take up much space and are relatively easy to care for.  You can still enjoy your out door space and grow your own organic food.  I reviewed a an awesome vertical gardening system which you can check out here.

Gardening in Your Apartment – What are the Benefits?

To start, you will save money in the long run, especially if you want to eat organic.  With long term droughts, rising transportation costs and inflation, the cost of eating fresh organic foods is rising.  I personally have paid 30-50% higher for organic items.  Growing your own stuff will definitely save you money in the long run and you will never have to worry about what chemicals or pesticides you are feeding your family.

Convenience is also a great way to benefit from gardening on your balcony.  You will have a fresh supply of veggies on hand when you need them! Ever start preparing a meal and realise that you forgot to pick up tomatoes, or fresh basil? How great would it be to simply walk a few feet to your balcony and pick it fresh for your meal?  Pretty great!

Freshness! The way that our food supply is set up, many of us have access to fruits and vegetables that have traveled thousands of miles to make it our local grocery store.  The food is picked well before its ripe, and shipped to us from all corners of the world and left to ripen on the truck or shipping container.  Picked fresh for tonight’s dinner is going to tase a whole lot better.

dollar signWorth the Investment

You easily create a fully functional garden on your balcony or patio for less than $500, or you can DIY it and do it on the super cheap, either way, this is a great way to eat high quality food every day, or in an emergency.  Even those of us with (myself included) with black thumbs can be a successful grower.

I’d love to hear what you are growing in your home!  Share your gardening strategies below, and keep your eye out for reviews on vertical gardening!

 

 

Krysten

35 Comments

  1. This is really a great idea for anyone living in a place with no yard. great job.

    • Thanks! We have to make do with what we have, and by thinking outside the box, you can have a successful garden and room to relax on your balcony.

  2. I genuinely like this idea, I also have a small balcony and I’m seriously thinking of proposing this idea to my girlfriend. I can see that, in the long term, a lot of money can be saved and I also like the idea of eating the stuff you produce and know everything about instead of eating something that is “served” to you. Overall an awesome post.

    • Thanks, and I think that is a great idea! There are some great products out there to get you started if you are not much of DIY guy. It’s always nice to have very fresh foods too!

  3. I am fortunate enough to live in a house with a huge back section, me and my wife had put in our first vege patch at the end of our summer (around about las December) with great results, we grew zucchini, marrow, but didn’t really succeed in growing tomatoes lol. I recycle plastics etc., but really will consider composting. I have a nice little herb garden growing and the difference between fresh and dried is night and day. Great post, I have never lived in an apartment, nice to see you can make a garden anywhere.

    • I miss the days when I had a backyard! I live in Toronto and space is at a super premium so I have had to get creative. Glad to hear that you garden has been a success! My mom has some great zucchini and rhubarn in her garden with lots of herbs. She sends me home with tons of them when I go for a visit!

  4. Really interesting article! I never thought about being able to grow a garden on my balcony. This is such a great idea. I always heard that compost was great for your plants, its a efficient way to dispose of some of your garbage. Do a lot of people grow vegetables on their balconies? Sounds like something I will do right away. Thank you for sharing this wonderful information! Jeffrey

    • Hey Jeffrey, I am seeing more and more people take a stab at this especially with the organic/health craze that has been happening. For a handyman like yourself, I bet you could get one going fairly easily!

  5. hi Krysten
    I have been living in condos and townhouses for a long time and have always had a little garden. I love growing my own herbs and veggies. Once you have the pots, it is really inexpensive to buy the products. There is nothing like having fresh herbs. They get so expensive when you have to buy them at the grocery store. And so much better to always have them on hand

    • Absolutely! There is something therapeutic about growing your own garden, no matter how small it is!

  6. Great article! Live in an apartment with no balcony. :( Can I still grow indoors?

    • Yep – you can! Check out aquaponics, a system that uses fish in an aquarium or pond to fertilize your plants. The aquarium cleans it’s self as ammonia, which will kill your fish (hence the frequent water changes for a traditional aquarium) is used up by the plants in order to grow! There is a solution for everyone!

  7. I think it is great to grow your own foods. I think is going to help people figure it out or at least get them started! Nice post!
    Lorraine

    • Thanks Lorraine! I live in Toronto, and the to buy a house in this city you need a million bucks! Living in a condo doesn’t mean you can’t create a meaningful out door space.

  8. Yes!! Great information. Everyone should have a garden to some extent. Nothing like home grown veggies and with these tips, not having a backyard shouldn’t stop anyone. Good word

    • So true! There are so many ways to do it and it can be really easy if you aren’t a big DIYer. I wrote a review recently about a system that works great and is easy to set up!

  9. Hello, Krysten. Great idea. I just wish I could use them. My apartment doesn’t have a balcony :-(
    I love to eat fresh fruits and vegies. My favorites are Strawberries and Tomatoes.
    Got any ideas for how I can do something without having a balcony??
    Thanks,
    – Matt

    • Hi Matt, you could check out aquaponics! I have a small aquaponic system at home now called “back to the roots”. Basically plants grow on top of a fish tank, and the fish waste supports the plant, which in turn filter out the ammonia in the water in the tank. The tank cleans itself, and it’s pretty easy to set up. Mine is pretty small, but you can do a project and set up a larger with a little research.

  10. I have been looking for something like this for a long time. Thank you so much, and I will enjoy learning from you for a long time.

    Heidi

    • Thanks Heidi! Check in often as I will be reviewing products and adding new information about prepping often.

  11. Really great read! I live in an apartment as well, 3rd floor too. I’ve always wanted to grow a garden and grow fresh fruits and vegetables but that’s kind of impossible where I live. I’ll have to try this for sure! Thanks again!

  12. This is great information! I do not garden myself but my mom does so I will be sharing your website with her.

  13. Really good content. This is one subject that I really want to expend on so it is great that I have found your website.
    Keep it up with the good work.

    cheers

  14. Can’t really say I disagree or agree because everyone’s fiscal situation is exceptional.
    Not all options will work for many folks you have to evaluate
    it on just one person basis.

    • Growing a garden on your patio can cost very little, or you can get a highly complex system and spend some cash. You have to work with what you have, and there are options at every budget level. thanks for reading!

  15. I always thought that gardening takes up a lot of space (at least my moths family veggiy garden did) so how much room do you set aside for a reasonable apartment size garden? Wondering also if you have any posts on how to make a compost or what goes in one? Many thanks

    • Hi Debra and thanks for checking out my post about urban gardening. Deciding how much space that you use really is up to you and how much space that you have to work with. you can have a growing garden in a larger planter, simply a window box that hangs on the railings of your balcony. I recently reviewed a product that it a compost and a vertical garden all in one, and it requires only 4ft of space. You can check it out here http://theurbansurvivalistchick.com/sustainable-urban-gardening-garden-tower-vertical-container-garden-review

      As for what goes in the compost, pretty much any food scraps will suffice. Hope that helps, and good luck with that garden!

  16. Krysten,

    Thanks so much for this wonderful read.
    What is so funny is that I have lived in apartments before but well in the past. Life being cyclic however I find now the wife and I are heading towards apartment life once again.
    I really appreciate the composting frugality, I hate wasting what I have paid for!
    Thanks again, love the rest of the site as well,

    Gary

    • Thanks Gary! It is so easy to just to throw anything that will fit down the garbage chute, and this is an easy way to cut down your waste and feed your veggie plants too!

  17. Hey, Krysten. I actually do live in an apartment but without a balcony and a garbage chute, so I have to walk down 2 flights of stairs to empty the rubbish :( But I do have very big sliding doors so I can catch the sun when it’s out lol. Thanks for sharing such a great post on growing vegetables in the apartment and I could certainly do with eating more healthier as well as saving some money too.

    What kind of organic vegetables do you prefer to grow yourself?

    Neil

    • I have grown zucchini, tomatos and peppers, some herbs and wheat grass, radishes etc. I have a few set ups, including an auqaponics set up. I think with kits like this, it makes it so easy to get started and quickly grow what you need. Thanks for checking in, and watch those stairs when bringing out the garbage!

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