The list of benefits we receive plants and gardens is extensive. They’re good for your respiratory system, great at improving productivity, and amazing for your mental health.
For those of us who live in apartments, a garden can seem out of reach. But it doesn’t have to be!
Apartments, by nature, have limited square footage. Whatever room you have, it’s possible to start a small garden, as long as you have a window and the will!
Even if you don’t think you have a green thumb, there are still ways for you to reap the benefits of having some plant-life inside your home.
These step-by-step basics, such as call up Leander arborists for garden care, will guide you through starting a simple garden in any apartment. You don’t need a degree in botany; just an open space, some sunlight, and patience!
1. Choose Your Starting Point
When many people think about starting an indoor garden, they automatically throw up obstacles in their minds. This usually happens because they’re putting the cart before the horse and jumping straight to visualize a full-size field.
The trick is to start small as you learn the ins and outs of cultivating a plant from seedling to fully grown. You don’t need a large space or an expensive irrigation system. That can come later if you choose to expand.
To begin with, keep it simple.
First, find an area in your home that has the necessities. Direct sunlight is preferable, but if it’s not possible, you can use lightbulbs that offer natural lighting.
Ventilation is essential, too. Avoid setting up a garden in areas with no breeze. You can create an artificial current yourself with an oscillating fan or an air extractor fan system.
The next step is to decide how you want to space your garden out. A few standard options include:
- Using a shelf in front of your window
- Designing a vertical garden on your wall using staggered shelves
- Hanging your plants from the ceiling
Whichever spacing you choose, make sure you block the area off well. Pets or other potential hazards can damage your sensitive garden, for one thing. More importantly, some plants can be poisonous to animals and children.
2. Pick Your Plants
Once you know how much room you have for your garden, it can help you narrow down the plants you choose to start with.
Before you head off to find the perfect seedlings, you’ll need to decide your reason for gardening.
Do you want to enjoy the beauty of a burgeoning flower as it begins to spread its petals? Or are you more interested in having your own ingredients on hand when you cook?
This knowledge — combined with the size of the plant your space can handle — will direct you to the perfect seeds. Choose one or two to start with, remembering that you can always grow more later as you learn the skill.
Make sure you know how deep the roots go for the plant you choose so you’ll head to the right pot. Your seedling is going to be small, but the roots may grow more prominent than the container you have.
Some of the best plants for apartments include:
- Herbs – small roots and just right to have on hand when you’re cooking
- Strawberries – a few small containers sitting in your windowsill until they’re ripe are yummy and pleasing to look at
- Tomatoes – grow better in large containers, but small varieties flourish in hanging plants
- Snake plants – non-edible, but easy to grow and keep contained in tiny spaces
- Cacti – perfect for any climate, difficult to kill, and the occasional flowers are breathtaking
Even the smallest garden areas can burst with beautiful plants, giving your room the benefits of plants without a lot of work.
3. Fertilize Well
Expert gardeners will tell you that the right soil makes all the difference. Your choice of dirt determines whether you tend to your plants or spend hours of frustration every day, trying to coax them to grow.
Your local gardening department can give you advice based on the type of plant you are trying to grow.
In general, there are three main types of fertilizer:
- Liquids – added to your container when you water the plant
- Slow-release – shells that deteriorate into the soil and time-release fertilizer
- Granular – dry pellets mixed in manually, usually used outdoors
Beyond the three main types, you may see fertilizers geared specifically to your plant. Whichever you choose, make sure you follow the directions exactly. Too much or too little can cause damage to your garden.
As a natural DIY tip, head to the fishing section for some live worms. These decomposers help the plants absorb nutrients, and you won’t even know they’re there.
4. Water it Right
Sunlight and ventilation are important for the plant, but your ability to access water is a factor, too. If you have to cart heavy gallons every day from one room to the garden — it’s going to get old fast.
Preferably, the garden’s location should have easy access to water. If not, you can create your watering system or pre-fill jugs to keep on hand.
Set a watering schedule and plug it into your calendar to remind you to tend your plants regularly. If your apartment is particularly humid, get a mister to squirt between waterings.
5. Weed, Feed, Eat, Repeat
Weeding is a regular part of keeping your garden up, too. Even indoor plants are prone to weeds because they can be in the soil you use.
Sometimes it’s hard to tell what’s going to be a plant and what’s a weed. There are some typical weeds that you should get to know by sight so you can grab them early. Otherwise, you might want to wait a little while to make sure you’re not accidentally “weeding” a plant.
Plants need nutrients, too. You’ll feed yours regularly with the soil you choose, but you can also add plant food. When your edibles are ripe, enjoy the “fruits” of your labor. Then repeat the weeding and feeding all over again!
Even if you’re committed to apartment living, you can still enjoy all those awesome benefits of having plants of your own. Adjust your garden size to fit your space, and you’ll be good to go.
Sure, you’ll have some other obstacles to work through. But, once you overcome those basic deterrents — you’ll be reaping the perks of your very own garden!
Janey Ha, Business Manager at Mariposa on 3rd, a property offering new apartments in Koreatown, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. She has over eight years of experience in property management with a strong background in hospitality and is a local to the Koreatown/DTLA market. Mariposa on 3rd is a stylishly designed boutique apartment community at the threshold of LA’s budding metropolis, located within the hip neighborhood of Koreatown while just moments from DTLA.