Are You Tight on Space? These Five Crops Can Grow on a Balcony or Windowsill
Living in an apartment or condo often means giving up on personal green space, but just because you’re living in a condo or apartment doesn’t mean you have to give up on the idea of growing your own produce. With a little bit of time and money, and armed with the knowledge of what plants will thrive in your particular growing conditions, you too can enjoy fresh produce year-round.
Choosing a Location
The best place to grow plants in your apartment is on a window sill, in a window box, or on a balcony. While the plants featured in this list can thrive in partial shade, it’s still best to pick the sunniest spot you have available to have the most success in your growing endeavors.
Don’t Forgo Nutrition
Because your plants will be growing in containers, they will need extra help to ensure they get all the nutrients they need to survive. Make sure that when you’re picking out seeds, you also purchase some plant fertilizer. This essential plant food helps supplement the nutrition that gets passed to you when you eat your harvest!
Grow the Right Plants
Don’t set yourself up for failure by trying to grow plants that won’t thrive in the environment you can provide for them. Here’s five plants that are sure-fire winners for even the most inexperienced urban farmers.
Dwarf ornamental peppers work best for indoor growing. Their relatively shallow roots make them ideal for a container. Peppers also need lots of water, so opt for a well-drained plastic container over terra cotta. Don’t keep peppers in a drafty spot or near air conditioning or heating vents.
Cilantro, that star of salsas and marinades, is another plant that’s relatively easy to grow indoors. Choose an unglazed terra cotta container with plenty of drainage holes in the bottom. Cilantro can become tall and spindly as it reaches for the light. Pinch them at the growing tips to force a bushier plant.
Popular herbs and aromatics like thyme, parsley, basil, lavender, rosemary, sage, and oregano enhance the flavor of dishes. Any chef that takes his or her art seriously will tell you there’s no replacement for fresh herbs. Keep them on hand all year round by making sure they have enough sunlight and proper drainage in their pots. Like cilantro, you can grow bushier herbs by pinching the plants at their growing tips.
Those heads of garlic you normally buy at the grocery store are actually ready for planting. The larger the bulb, the better it is for growing indoors. When you’re ready to plant, break the head apart, but don’t peel the cloves. They need to be planted at least six inches apart, two to three inches into the ground. Garlic takes between three and six months to mature. You’ll know it’s ready when its flowers begin deteriorating and the top of the plant turns yellow. After harvesting, you can store garlic by hanging it in a dry, well-ventilated area.
Take a trip to your local grocery store and buy the last green onions of your life. Cut off their green tops, but make sure you don’t cut down to the white bulb. Trimming them like this gives you some onions now, and promotes new growth! Next, plant the onions about two inches apart and ensure they get plenty of sun. Cut off the new growth of green tops whenever you need fresh green onion in your recipes!
Have you given apartment gardening a try? What other plants have you had success with? Let us know in the comments!