You don’t have to sacrifice garden fresh veggies or being in the awesome company of plants this spring, just because you don’t have a lot of space to grow plants. With these solutions for small scale gardening, you can create a personal sized garden right where you are planted.
Even if you are a city-dweller in a small studio apartment, having a touch of nature in your environment is vital to your overall health—physical, mental and spiritual. No matter where you live or what kind of space you have—or don’t have—you can grow a thriving garden with just a little time and imagination.
In today’s hectic world, it’s easy to forget that, among our basic human needs for food, water and shelter is our connection to the energy of nature. Plants are alive and carry their own natural life force that creates and generates an energy field around them. Having that energy in your home, especially if your plants are well cared for, can help lift your own energy state.
Bringing plant life into your home is literally life-giving.
When you are growing plants to eat, for example, the nurturing energy you put into them is absorbed by the plant. It returns that energy to you in the form of denser nutrition.
Pesticide residue and other possible contamination from commercially grown plants is a serious health concern as well. Growing your own food puts you in better control of what goes into your body.
Plants also purify the air and help circulate Qi. Studies have shown that houseplants create their own micro ecosystem
that produce oxygen and remove toxins and other impurities from the environment.
Gardening also puts you in touch with the rhythms of the earth and your true nature. Designing your garden, preparing your pots, sowing the seeds and simply sticking your bare hands in some soil connects us with our true nature and balances our energy cycles.
And, gardening can be therapeutic to body and soul. The healing power of gardens
is so well accepted that many hospitals and rehabilitation centers use gardens as part of patient therapy.
You don’t need a lot of money or fancy garden supplies
to build your garden either. Start by using materials you have on hand. By using and repurposing ordinary household items like jars, cans and cardboard boxes you can turn your junk drawer or recycling bin into your very own garden supply center.
Whether you have diminutive dwellings or limited light, these creative space saving garden tips offer some smart solutions for infusing your environment with nature’s nurturing vibe.
Planters come in all shapes and sizes to make gardening work for your space. All you need for a planter is a container with a drain hole at the bottom.
Anything that used to be a container for something else can be converted to a mini garden. Plastic cups, egg cartons, cinder blocks, coconut shells, tea tins and more can be repurposed to start a new plant.
And, the great thing about container gardens is, if you move a lot, you can move the earth with you.
Here are some more creative container ideas
from the ecology minded decorating website Decoist
Terrariums, another type of container garden, lets you create mini garden worlds that you can integrate into your environment—on a tabletop, window ledge, bathroom shelf or stairway.
Terrariums are no longer constrained to just glass bowls. Let your imagination loose and reuse canning jars, milk bottles, cookie jars—anything that’s made of clear glass and has a shape pleasing to you.
Terrariums are easy to care for and offer year round lush landscapes, which will be especially pleasing during darker or dreary winter weather.
Closed containers hold more humidity which is good for moisture loving plants like ferns and grasses. Open containers are better for cactus and succulent plants that prefer drier conditions.
Choose plant varieties that will thrive where you plan to place your terrarium. Plants that need more light will do best near south- and west-facing windows. Fluorescent light and north-facing windows are good for low- to medium-light loving plants.
Don’t forget to use what’s on the other side of your walls. Balconies, porches, decks and even some fire escapes—if it’s allowable and safe—offer great spaces for hanging pots, planter boxes or trellises.
Just be sure your plants and pots are secured from falling or breaking, and protected from the elements like wind and direct sun. Also be sure to check that you are in compliance with your building or property owner’s fire safety and good neighbor codes.
Fire escapes and apartment building balconies can be tiny footprints indeed but you can still make good use of the space. Terraced boxes and trellises allow maximum planting in minimum space. Self-watering containers are extremely helpful when tight spaces makes it hard to easily access your pots.
Many lettuce varieties, herbs, small vegetables like radish and wild asparagus, and climbing vines like tomatoes and green beans all make excellent fire escape plants.
Railings can support hanging plants and also act as trellises and support posts for vines.
Do you sometimes feel walled in by your space? Vertical gardens offer an opportunity to break through perceived barriers and open your space to new possibilities.
Hitting a brick wall won’t stop your garden dead in your tracks when you turn that wall into a vertical garden
. From nailing string across boards for climbing vines, to stacking long trays or planter boxes spaced out one above the other, you can create a small garden plot with rows and rows of assorted flowers, herbs and veggies.
The most common plants for growing on vertical walls are succulents and air plants that use little or no soil. But with proper planning, patience and timing you can have a virtual jungle of edible plants like peas, tomatoes, cucumbers and other vegetables that naturally grow upwards or sprawl.
Life on the Balcony
offers DIY for home gardeners with limited space, Life on the Balcony
offers DIY for home gardeners with limited space, including plenty of ideas for wooden pallet planters
as vertical wall gardens, and more.
Make sure any container you use is clean and chemical free before reusing it.
Windows may look out on the world, but they also offer a handy space right indoors for planting your herbs or vegetables.
A kitchen windowsill herb garden puts your favorite culinary herbs within arms reach while you are cooking.
Fresh thyme, mint, tarragon, lavender, chives, parsley and many other easy-to-grow herbs not only add healthy antioxidants and flavor to your dishes, they can also replace space consuming spice jars and storage bins.
Window boxes or herb pots not only offer handy, inexpensive nutrition right at your fingertips, they also make beautiful decor that will enhance any living space.
There’s nothing quite like the excitement of seeing seeds you planted with your own hands, from your own small corner of the planet, start to germinate.
Now, with these ideas firmly seeded in your mind, your imagination can be boundless.
Happy growing and happy Earth Day!