Do you dream of lush gardens full of your favorite fruits, veggies, and herbs? Strawberries scatter about and fresh peppers dangle among green leaves and sunlight. Is that dream crushed every time you remember you don’t have a backyard? You can barely keep a plant alive in your 500 square foot apartment and the thought of a garden seems impossible. While we all love the occasional trip to the Farmer’s Market, is it really possible that we could access fresh veggies and herbs without leaving home?
If you’re thinking about growing a garden in a limited space, with limited time, the first step is to determine a location. If you have a balcony or patio, this may be the best option for starting a small garden. Pots and containers will line up nicely along the sides. Need to stay inside? Consider vertical garden planters that can be secured to the walls. You will, most likely, however, need to receive approval from the landlord. Another well-lit option is windowsill boxes. While they need to be secure, rooted herbs and vegetables will grow best in this shallow spot. Your most successful veggies will include tomatoes, spinach, carrots, garlic, basil, and oregano. Here are some tips for planning and nurturing your new garden.
For best results, go with a smaller variety such as cherry tomatoes. A big, deep pot isn’t necessary and you can even grow them in hanging baskets near the windows. Sow tomato seeds by planting them 1/4 inch deep. Keep the soil lightly moist and in a warm location. After 5-10 days, once germination has occurred, move the pots to a brightly lit area.
A shallow, wide planter with slightly moist soil will be sufficient to grow spinach. You can even grow them on a windowsill with limited daylight. Begin by sowing seeds 1/2 inch deep directly into the container. They should begin to grow in 5-14 days depending on the conditions. Avoid wetting the foliage and keep the soil moist.
Choose smaller varieties of carrots for your urban, window box garden. Beware the roots can easily dry out and crack, so plan to water the carrots regularly. The pot can be as small at 6” deep and seeds should be sown at 1/2 to 1/4 inch deep.
Garlic grows best in the full sun with a well-drained potting soil. Carefully split a bulb into cloves and plant each about 1 inch deep, with the pointed end facing upward. Growing garlic indoors will result in garlic leaves, which have a milder flavor than the bulbs. Keep the soil damp.
While basil loves heat and bright light, it is not a long-term houseplant. The stems will begin to grow woody after several weeks. Plant in fast-draining soil, about 1/4 inch deep.
One option is to start with a tip that has been trimmed from an outdoor oregano plant. Once you’ve planted the tip in a pot, place it in a south-facing window. Alternatively, you can plant seeds by sprinkling them on top of the soil. There’s no need to cover them. Just mist with water, then layer plastic over the container. Place in a sunny location to germinate.
Growing your own herbs and veggies takes time, effort and attention. A successful garden is worth the work and provides a great return on your investment. It adds flavor to your life and brightens up your living space. The Ride or Die backpack is also as strong as your persistence and supports you in whatever you pursue next. It features a front zipper compartment for your yoga mat, along with a hidden, zippered pocket at the back and slip pockets at the sides. What’s your favorite way to bring life to your living space? Share a photo and let us know by tagging #solandselene.
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Megan has been a certified personal trainer for over ten years. Also a lifelong vegetarian, her fitness journey began in high school, when she was overweight and inactive. After joining her first gym at the age of 16 and making changes to her lifestyle, the extra weight dropped and her commitment to health and wellness continued to grow. In a world that overwhelms us with diet plans, new workout routines, and the latest “stress-busting, abs-lusting” claims, Megan Meisner Fitness will help you silence the distractions and focus on mindfulness, self-awareness, and support to reach your goals.