How to grow vegetables in your apartment
Yep, even if you have a small space you can still grow your own vegetables, this isn’t new news for those who love indoor apartment gardening, but for some of us who are not quite Don Burke, this is music to our ears.
Nothing better than growing and eating your own produce. There’s a sense of achievement and for some unknown reason, your apartment grown vegetables will always taste better than the ones you buy.
The first step is to choose your vessel, it could be one of the below, a combination of the below or all of the below. It’s important to choose what is right for you and your space. Containers come in many different sizes and materials, so you will need to choose what is best for you. Do your homework on what is required to grow each vegetable and be sure to make sure you give your veggies the best conditions for them to thrive.
What Vegetables Can You Grow in Your Apartment
Most new apartments in Melbourne have great natural sunlight, this is needed to be able to grow delicious veggies in your apartment. We recommend growing broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, climbing beans, root vegetables, lettuce, salad leaves, and potatoes. That’s not to say you can’t grow other veggies, but these seem to be the best and probably the easiest to grow in apartments. Don’t let us hold you and your green thumb back!
Option 1: Container Planting
For those that may not have a rooftop garden or a big space to grow, container planting is the perfect apartment living solution. It won’t take up too much space and you’ll be amazed at what you can grow in a container.
The best thing about container planting is they are portable, so if you got to move them, it’s easy or if you are moving house, you can take your crop with you.
Option 2: Wooden Planters
If you’re handy with the hammer and nail you can easily construct your own. This can be done using (usually) free pallets, they are always lying around somewhere. If not, you can find some pretty sweet planter boxes online through Google Shopping or Facebook Market Place.
Wooden planters are great for those that have a balcony or courtyard.
Option 3: Recycled Plastic Planters
I know, using plastic isn’t great, but there is so much that goes to landfill I always like seeing it being recycled and used for good. So if you have any plastic bottles lying around or find any on the streets, you can easily turn them into recycled plastic planters.
Option 4: Terracotta and Ceramic Pots
These probably look the best and are fantastic for growing citrus and olives, but our only concern is they can get pretty heavy, which can make it difficult when you need to move them to different conditions in your apartment throughout the year.
Option 5: Herbs & Micro-Herbs in Tins
For the smaller growers that may not want to grow full-on vegetables and are more interested in the micro herb game, we would suggest using old tins and biscuit tins. Another great way to recycle. These are typically fairly easy to grow, but you’ll need to do your research on conditions as it’s all about the conditions for micro herbs.
Option 6: Wheelbarrow
If you have a rooftop garden or a large courtyard this is recommended. You need space as there will be compost which can smell, so having in an open area that is away from everyone is advised.
A wheelbarrow is a ripping way to create a mini portable vegetable patch that you can literally chase the sun with. The no-dig or layered (lasagne) method for preparing your garden bed will work well as it provides maximum nutrients with little effort to maintain. Dan at Very Edible Gardens has written a nice blog on how to build a no-dig garden, so if this interests you, please read more here.
Planting – Seeds or Seedlings?
Plant your vegetables. It’s up to you to decide if you want to start with seeds or seedlings (for beginner gardeners, seedlings are a great head start). You can even use vegetable scraps from your crisper; they’ll do remarkably well! Try celery, shallots, carrots, lettuce and chili. If you are growing from seed please head here.
Steps on how to start and grow
1. Container – Choose an option above about what you are going to grow your vegetables in.
2. Position – make sure you put your vegetables in a sunny spot. They will require a few hours of sun per day and if you want the best results, a full day in the sun is optimal.
3. Fill the container with 2 – 4 inches of compost soil. If you’re planting sprouts, make sure to give them a few inches of space around the roots. If you’re planting seeds, scatter the seeds evenly across the planter.
4. Watering – They require regular watering. Herbs should have somewhat damp soil—don’t let your shallow planters dry out. Tomatoes, on the other hand, are easy to over-water. Feel the soil before you water them. If it’s moist, wait until it’s dry before watering. We advise watering around the base of the plant, rather than through the leaves.
5. The soil needs some love as well. Use a hand-held garden cultivator (claw) to aerate the surface soil without touching the roots.
6. Continue to water and aerate the soil until your vegetables have grown to eating size.
7. To harvest your plants, use scissors to snip the leaves or vegetables. Snip the leaves around the base of the plant first, so that it will continue to grow and fill out.
8. At the end of the growing season, you can store your compost soil. Next year, turn your soil over and reseed it for a new crop.
At EBV we welcome all indoor apartment gardening, but it’s important to note for those that may not have the time to grow veggies in their apartments, we will have rooftop gardens
where we will be growing vegetables for the community. Whilst you can grow your own in your apartment, you can also make full use of our rooftop gardens and grow some amazing
food for you and your community to share and enjoy. This has been set up by Very EdibleGardens and will be managed by them for the first year at least. If you are interested in buying off the plan apartments in Melbourne and want a place that has put a huge focus on green and sustainability, EBV has got the right man (Dan Palmer) in charge to make it happen the right way.