I am definitely a “noob” when it comes to gardening of any sort. But I told myself I was up for the challenge of putting together a small but fruitful container garden. The idea of having fresh, organic veggies and herbs to cook with was very appealing. I live in a small apartment with a decent sized balcony that receives the perfect amount of sunlight for such an undertaking.
Space- You don’t need a lot of space, just a spot where your plants will be able to get a healthy amount of sun.
Containers- I purchased plastic containers with removable trays from both Target and Home Depot. They were pretty inexpensive with the small ones being around $4 and the larger ones being around $6. They can be as fancy or as plain as you want, but if you live in an apartment like I do, I definitely recommend getting ones with trays (or purchasing them separately). You don’t want the people below you to get dripped on. Also, make sure you get containers big enough for the plants that will be living in them. I made the mistake of cramming 5 (!!!) bean seeds into one small container, and they didn’t grow as big as they should have and didn’t produce very much. (Whomp whomp! Lesson learned!)
And just for fun- Solar Powered Plant Pot!
Seeds- I try to buy organic fruits and veg as much as possible (though they can be expensive) so I knew I wanted to go with organic seeds. I was also able to buy these at Target and Home Depot. With most veg seeds, you’ll want to start them indoors, until you get seedlings, and then transplant them into a bigger pot. I used something similar to these biodegradable pots to start my seeds.
Potting Mix- As you can see in the picture above, I went with Miracle Grow "Organic Choice" potting mix. It's a little more expensive than the regular stuff, so if you want to be frugal, you can get a BIG bag of non-organic potting soil (or dirt, as I did) and mix this stuff in.
Stakes and ties- If you’re growing tomatoes, cucumbers, or any other “veg on a vine” you might want to consider staking and tying them (as you’ll see in the pictures below). I’ve read that certain vegetables have the tendency to rot if they are sitting on the ground. We used a simple, tall plastic stake and biodegradable ties, also purchased at Home Depot. (An alternative is to make or buy plant cages that work similarly to a trellis.)
Internets and/or Library- It’s a good idea to brush up on the care of certain fruits, veggies and flowers. For example, until I started doing a little research, I didn’t know that rosemary doesn’t require as much watering as most other herbs.
And now, without further ado, our modest container garden:
Sad bean plants
Mint, oregano, rosemary
(sadly not as lyrical as "parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme...")
First cherry and heirloom tomato harvest!
There has since been a TON more.
For container gardening advice from an expert, I highly suggest you visit Life on the Balcony- Container Gardening Tips for Apartment and Condo Dwellers
Question: Do you attempted a container garden (or a regular one)? What were the results? Share any tips or tricks you have!