Are you a renter with a green thumb but feeling discouraged by your lack of outdoor space? Well, think again! You don't need a sprawling yard to exercise your love of gardening. There are many alternative ways to bring a touch of nature into your apartment and grow your own plants.
From fragrant flowers to delicious vegetables, the possibilities are endless. To get you started, we've compiled a list of creative and practical ways to garden in your apartment, no matter how limited your space may be. So don't let your home hold you back from enjoying the joys of gardening.
Read on and discover how you can transform your living space into a lush, green oasis!
One of the best ways to get the full gardening experience is to be a part of a community garden. Community gardens are a piece of land maintained by a local group of people that work together to create a sustainable food source. The garden is divided into several individual plots where each person is responsible for their own plot for the season.
Several of our properties have community gardens that you can be a part of, and as a plus, they are complimentary! For instance, our Kenwood community garden in Edmonton has two large plots of land where you can grow carrots, tomatoes, celery, rhubarb or whatever else your heart desires.
Most Avenue Living Communities (ALC) community gardens use a first come, first serve model. So make sure you get out there early in the growing season to claim your spot.
If you need more information on how to become a part of an ALC community garden, please contact your leasing agent.
If you don’t have a community garden on your property, you can still participate in the fun by finding one in your area.
For instance, several ALC properties in Calgary are located near the Bankview community garden, with up to 30 plots available for a nominal fee per season. Like most community gardens, you must be a resident of the area and register through their portal before the season starts. Make sure you check out the community gardens in your area and take advantage of all that green space!
Indoor gardening is a unique and rewarding experience but can be challenging if you're new to it. Unlike outdoor gardening, you'll need to consider factors such as lighting and space and carefully select the right plants for your indoor environment.
When getting started with indoor gardening, begin by scouting out the areas in your apartment that receive the most natural light. For example, larger windows that face south or west are ideal for plants that require a lot of sunlight. Once you've found the perfect spot, you may need to reposition furniture to create space for your plants near the window.
Another essential factor to consider is drainage. Root rot is a common problem in indoor gardening, so be sure to use drainage pots and avoid over-watering your plants. Once you've accounted for the drainage, find a suitable table or ledge for your plants, choose your desired plants and get planting! With a bit of patience and care, you'll be rewarded with a lush indoor garden that will definitely brighten up your living space.
Here are some plants that grow best indoors:
- Heart-leaf philodendron
- Snake plant
- Arrowhead vine
- Cast iron plant
- Chinese evergreen
- Peace lily
- African violet
- Norfolk Island pine
- Fiddle-leaf fig
- Spider plant
- Rubber plant
Grow Light Gardening
Growing herbs and vegetables in your apartment can be a fun and rewarding way to add fresh, healthy ingredients to your meals. However, some apartments might need more natural light to support plant growth, especially during the winter months. This is where a growing light comes in. A growing light is a type of artificial light that mimics the sun's spectrum, providing plants with the light they need to grow and thrive.
To use a growing light to grow fresh food in your apartment, first choose a location where you want to place your plants. This could be a windowsill, a table or even a shelf. Then, set up the light to shine directly on your plants. Be sure to follow the instructions to ensure it is set up correctly. Once your light is in place, you can start the planting process.
Choose plants that do well in containers, such as basil, thyme, oregano and veggies, including lettuce and kale. Be sure to select the proper sized containers for your plants, and always use high-quality soil. Your herbs and veggies can then start to thrive under your growing light, giving you immediate access to fresh ingredients to incorporate into your cooking.
Another way to grow plants at home during the warmer months is to take advantage of your balcony space. Many of our apartments have balconies with lots of light, just steps away from your kitchen.
However, there are several things to consider when planning to garden on your balcony. First, seek approval from your Leasing Specialist and ensure that your balcony can handle the additional weight, as some pots can be heavy. We suggest opting for multiple smaller pots to be able to move them around more easily.
Some of our residents have been utilizing their balconies to grow plants for years. "I've been gardening on my balcony for almost four years, and I love it,” says one current resident. “This building allows me to grow tomatoes, flowers, peppers and other food as well. If I can grow it in a bucket, I'm at least going to try."
Here are some plants that can grow well on a balcony:
- Anything with a coastal vibe that can thrive amid high winds and temps—think sea holly, sea kale and cordyline
- Small-sized shrubs and trees that grow well in containers such as boxwood, lemon trees, bay laurel or hydrangeas
- Colourful annuals, including canna and hibiscus
- Bush tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, cucumbers, greens and other produce
Another great option to exercise your green thumb is to bring a little more growth to ALC properties! Several of our residents have been getting together and creating a greater sense of community by assembling flower beds and transforming the entrances to become brighter and more inviting. In addition, many of our residents assist with planting flowers, watering plants and weeding.
One of our residents at Christopher County in Edmonton, has been working on this garden for over five years!
If you would like to participate in a community garden near you, please contact a Maintenance Associate today.
Now that you know all the different ways to garden in or around your apartment, you can head outside (or inside) and enjoy growing the perfect garden.
No yard, no problem!