How to Grow an Edible Garden in a Small Apartment
Before I moved to the country I lived in inner Sydney. My last apartment didn't even have a balcony and I really struggled with that because I love gardening, living an eco-friendly life and sitting in the sun. However, I always feel there are solutions so it didn't stop me growing my own herbs and salad leaves despite that it was all indoors.
In fact, as long as you have some light into your apartment you should be able to do the same and although you may not be producing great amount of crops, there is still something very satisfying when you pick those few lettuce leaves or herbs or snip of some cress to sprinkle on your boiled egg.
I love plants and have many of them and I'm especially fond of orchids, however these days I concentrate on growing edible plants including edible flowers that I can sprinkle on my salads and use for garnish. Now that I have a backyard there is plenty of room to grow vegetables but I still have little pots of microgreens all around the house, as well as hanging baskets of lettuce and herbs.
HOW TO GROW AND EDIBLE GARDEN IN A SMALL APARTMENT
If you have a balcony that gets some sun then you are on to a winner. You can create wall gardens, hanging baskets and pots. Like I do, you can grow a mix of herbs, vegetables suitable for pots, microgreens and edible colourful flowers.
If you have a windowsill you may be able to put planter boxes on it (these days you can get planters that hook over the windowsill). Again you will need some sunlight and of course when you are watering, you don't want to be watering over pedestrians because won't go down too well. If you planter boxes are hanging on the outside over a pavement make sure you water when it's clear.
Planter boxes on the windowsill ledge, with a good tray to ensure there is no overspill are perfect for herbs, lettuce and edible flowers.
Believe it or not, you can grow small citrus trees indoors i.e. kumquats or Meyer lemons. Some nurseries stock other citrus i.e. blood oranges in dwarf varieties too. Your citrus tree will need a rather large container, lots of water, sunlight and a good base that doesn't allow the water to overflow on to the floor.
There are many options to make a vertical garden. You can buy a pre-made vertical garden for your plants or use these other ideas:
cut a hole in large plastic drink bottles, fill with soil and a plant, connect each end with rope and then hang them from from ropes that are attached to hooks near the ceiling see how here
hang clay pots on the balcony with a few pots chained below each other
mount some steel mesh to a wall and hang plants off it in baskets
use a step ladder and place pots on it
use a plastic shoe organiser to plant in and hang from the wall
The list goes on just use your imagination and create your own fabulous ideas.
Planter trolleys are great for growing plants inside because they can be easily moved around to follow the sun. Just make sure you line the bottom with PVC and that you have a quality potting mix.
You can purchase hydroponic kits at most hardwares and nurseries. Start off with a small inexpensive hydroponic kit to make sure growing plants this way is for you. If you love it, then you can advance to bigger things. Hydroponic gardening is basically growing plants without soil as their roots do not need to seek out the required nutrients for survival they grow quickly. Special nutrients are added to the water.
Light is essential for growing plants so if you live in a very dark apartment (and believe me I have done this and not thrived because I need light too), then you can use artificial light. You can purchase artificial lights and you will have some success.
Plants in pots dry out quick so every day check if they need water.
Fertilize every two weeks with a liquid such as Fish Emulsion or if you use an Urban Compost Bin like I do, the diluted liquid from that is a fantastic fertilizer.
Don't wait for the plants to mature, pick leaves as you need them.
Keep the cycle going so as some plants are getting bigger, plant new ones in different pots so you always have a supply, and when they start growing, do it again.
Even if you just grow a few herb pots, like this one of mine above, just being able to add a little something homegrown is a satisfying feeling of achievement and brings inner city living that little bit closer to nature.