There's a wonderful feeling you get when you grow and care for a garden, but what can you do when you have limited space?
Wanting to live frugally can be challenging in itself and there are many people now looking for an apartment, condo or townhouse to call home. But a smaller space shouldn't stop you from growing your own vegetables, herbs and even beautiful flowers to enjoy!
The most common spaces that are used for urban gardening are windows, balconies, patios and even fire escapes. If you can get good sunshine in these areas, then you've already won half of the battle.
If possible, set up the plants to face South on your fire escape or balcony. West-facing planters will still allow your plants to receive enough sunlight in the early to mid-afternoon. East-facing planters will be more difficult to produce plants that need mostly sun and heat to grow, however, there are plenty of herbs and greens that will grow just fine this way.
The space you have available will dictate what types of containers you may use. There are simple plastic containers that can be set out on a balcony, making it easy for multiple types of flowers and vegetables.
The best container is a self-watering one. Living higher up in an apartment complex or condo makes for windier and drier conditions, which causes plants to dry out quicker and needing more water.
There are vertical containers that can be used, as well, allowing for a variety of plants without taking up much space. For those limited to window space, a windowsill container may be the right solution. There are many varieties out there that sit on your windowsill or attach to the window frame and drape over.
You can grow many healthy foods on an apartment or condo balcony, like cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, beans, greens, such as lettuce and kale, and even carrots. This may provide you with a peace of mind that your vegetables are definitively organically grown with no abrasive insecticides and you're saving money serving yourself nutrition-rich vegetables.
You can also grow herbs like oregano, parsley, mint, rosemary, basil and thyme. And don't forget about our friend the aloe vera plant. This plant has an abundance of helpful properties. There are also mushroom starter sets you can buy to grow your own mushrooms indoors.
It's important to follow the growing and plant care guidelines for each type of plant in your home. Take into account soil conditions, sunlight and shade. There are plants that need more water than others and some may need a little less sunlight than others.
Take, for example, the care of cucumbers. These plants are known for being a climbing plant, meaning it will need something to climb. If it's not properly set up, the cucumber plant will fall over as it bears fruit. If you're on a balcony, then you can let the plant climb up the railing. If you have this on a patio, you can use a trellis in a bigger container.
With cucumbers, you'll be harvesting not just once but up to three times. The harvesting time is dependent on what you're considering doing with the cucumbers. The cucumber plant needs water but don't overwater it because it will die.
This is only one example of growing guidelines. Research the specific plants you plan to grow beforehand so that you know how to properly care for each. Herbs, just like other plants, have guidelines for watering, care and harvesting.
Having healthy, home-grown vegetables and herbs is the first benefit of having your own garden. There are many vitamins, minerals and proteins that are essential to our well-being found in the plants you're caring for.
The herbs you're growing have medicinal properties, as well as livening up a meal. Another benefit is that it's a great hobby that you can share with children to help them learn the importance of the right kinds of food to eat and it's an enjoyable time to be together.