Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
Vertical Gardening, Kathleen Millar
We all enjoy the fruits of a well maintained garden. You may want to grow a garden but maybe you live in an apartment, or a small home. You may think it's difficult to have a garden in these circumstances but don't get discouraged. Chances are that you're just not using the space that you have to its fullest potential. Here are some things you can do to maximize the space you do have.
First and for most, think vertical. Terraces, hanging pots, a trellis and arbors are all great vertical planting solutions! One of the most common things you can do is to find a well lit corner of your home to place hanging plants. To maximize your space you can hang pots above each-other with at least 1ft in between each pot.You can do this however tall you want within the space that you have but make sure to consider the weight of your soil when securing your ceiling bolts for the pots to hang from.
Another option is to create vertical planters in standing pots. You can easily make these using chicken wire, a pot, some mesh and soil. Start with the inner tier. Shape your chicken wire into a cylinder enclosure to the height you want and place in the pot. Fill the inside with dirt. Wrap the mesh around the existing wire. At this point you can just fill the rest of the pot with dirt and plant your plants along the sides and out the top tier OR you can add another tier and complete based on your planter size and desire.
Window boxes are great for your apartment gardening if you're allowed to mount these. You can place these indoors or outdoors depending on the look you are going for. Again, remember to consider weight when choosing your mounting method.
If you're looking to create planters on a budget drain gutters are awesome! They're light and thin- perfect for herbs and strawberries. Hang them on a wall or from the ceiling (stacking again with about 1ft in between) or on the window seal. Just cap the ends or create a horizontal zig-zag pattern so the water flows down to each plant terrace. You can find old rain gutters for free in many places or buy them for about $1.40 a foot.
Woolly pocket planter bags hang right onto the wall like a picture frame. They're breathable, they don't leak, and they look great! Hanging shoe organizer could even work on a budget. Make sure to secure these to a board in the wall with sturdy nails as all those roots, fruit, dirt and water can get heavy.
Think vases, pots, and stacking pots. We had a caller last week ask about whether or not he had to buy an actual pot to plant his plants in or if he could use old coffee tins, -That's a great idea! If you don't mind - you can plant your plants in anything that will hold the soil, roots and water. (old plastic storage containers, wood crates- with plastic liner, vertical placed pallets, jars mounted on the wall, soda pop containers)
If you have one—you can plant in your park strip or even lamp post median if available for use. Generally you have to maintain it anyway; you might as well grow something! If it's owned or maintained by the apartment company ALWAYS ask permission first. 9 times out of 10 they'll be okay with you at least putting pots out on that space as long as you keep it clean and organized, as this will add aesthetic value to the property.
Use the space you have. If you have roof access, use the roof. You can hang plants from most anything- railing, windows, walls, the ceiling. You can put pots in the unused space on your parking spot if you have the room with your car parked.
Most plants need about 6-8 hours of sun a day - not a ton of water. When the soil seems dry put your finger in the soil up to your first knuckle to double check, and then water. For most plants keep temperature between 60-70. Depending on the plant you're growing they may require different growing care. Planters should be filled with potting soil. Soil from the garden can have drainage issues so make sure you use something with good drainage so your plants roots don't rot.
Don't want to use soil? Tillandsia requires none! It's called an epiphyte. Epiphytes absorb their nutrients and water through the air. You may only have to mist occasionally. "Plant" in a place with good airflow, and on rocks or just in a glass jar or cork.
Here are a few incredibly hardy plants that work great indoors if you're just looking for a little life indoors. African violets, Desert cactus, spider plant, "corn plant", zanzibar gem, aloe, rubber plant, venus fly trap, snake plant, golden pathos vine.
Growing your own garden can be incredibly rewarding, don't get discouraged because you don't think you have the space. There are options! Remember to think vertical and maximize the space that you have. A little creativity can go a long way.