Homegrown vegetables in an apartment can seem like an impossible task, but the prospect of something impossible is exactly what motivates me to try new things.
Growing stuff is kind of natural to me because I love cooking and I am fascinated by seeing things grow. I guess that I was influenced by my grandmother who used to plant every seed she came across and by my parents having a little vegetable garden when I was little.
Sadly, I do not have a garden now but I am regardless a great fan of homesteading in general and self-growing in particular. The good thing about the modern homesteading trend is that you don’t need to have a farm or a vegetable garden or lots of space for that matter, everyone can adapt what they do to their own situation and taste. Whether you live in a small flat in the middle of a city, in a village house with a garden, or on a farm, there are lots of little things that each of us can do.
First steps to homegrown vegetables in your apartment
Begin with the basics
Growing your first crop of anything is really exciting and gratifying, especially for beginners. But, it can also be a bit daunting, so you may want to begin with the really easy stuff, and build up from there as you get more comfortable.
Herbs and spices are a great first step because they do not need a lot of space, you can grow them indoors in small plant pots and they require little care. You can buy seeds or baby plants for herbs and spices pretty much everywhere.
You can also gather and dry the seeds yourself. For example, I have grown chilli plants from my own seeds several times and they make beautiful indoor plants, especially when the first chillies start to add colour to the green. If you enjoy walking in nature, I recommend picking up a few stalks of wild herbs with their roots and planting them at home. Mint and sage have worked well for me and are strong plants that even survive the winter on the terrace.
Of course, if you are starting from scratch, you can head on to a shop like Samen.de*** where you can find all the seeds and equipment that you need.
Grow vegetables on your terrace or balcony
Now that you are an expert at herbs, it is time for you to start picking more complex plants to grow, such as tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, green beans, carrots, or radishes.
Although these are, by all accounts, simple vegetables to grow, you still need to find the space for them and an ideal location in your home with sufficient access to light and water.
If you are lucky enough to have a balcony or a terrace, some of those issues are easier to deal with, but as one might expect, growing anything from nothing still involves work and attention. It is crucial to properly follow all planting and care instructions, including those related to the right type of soil, watering, fertilisation, trimming, and keeping weeds, pests, and illnesses away.
Also, consider whether your terrace gets too much sunlight that could burn your delicate crops or maybe not enough (that is my problem with tomatoes 🍅) or if it is exposed to strong winds or rain.
How to grow vegetables indoors
If you don’t have a terrace in your apartment, do not despair, because you can still enjoy home-grown vegetables. In this case, to make the most of the space in your flat, you can use traditional window planters that hang from your windows, fill up the window sills with plant pots or install some indoor vertical gardening systems like wall-mounted planters or hanging baskets.
Make your own planters
Indoor planting solutions have become increasingly popular, especially in tiny places because they make it possible to grow more in less space while making sure that every plant receives enough light and water.
A quick Google or Pinterest search will show you plenty of ready-made alternatives, in all kinds of materials and sizes that fit every budget. But I encourage you to be creative and build your own or look for upcycled alternatives.
No matter how your planter looks, you will still have to take into account the same important considerations that we mentioned for outdoor planting: location, light, soil, and other specific care instructions that may apply to the vegetables you decide to grow.
Try growing kits
If you're looking for a more low-maintenance gardening project, a mushroom growing kit might be a good option for you. These kits are the perfect combination of simplicity and excitement, providing everything you need, to grow your very own batch of edible mushrooms.
Whether you prefer the earthy flavours of my favourite sort, shiitake, the delicate taste of oyster mushrooms, or the meaty texture of lion's mane, there is for sure a kit out there to suit your taste buds.
The growing process is effortless and relaxing. First find a dark, cool, and humid place, as this is the environment that mushrooms love. Somewhere like your basement is ideal, but if you don’t have one, a spot under the sink can also work. Then follow the watering instructions, and wait as the magic unfolds. In just a few short weeks, you'll be able to pick and enjoy your own fresh mushrooms, harvested by you!.
And there is more! Growing kits are not limited to mushrooms, you can find nowadays a wide variety of ready-to-grow products, like this Sprout Box Set*** or kits to grow aromatic herbs.
Not only will you have a delicious and nutritious addition to your meals, but you'll also have a chance to connect with the fascinating world of fungi and learn, firsthand, their critical role in our ecosystem. I have to admit that, I have not yet tried, but it is one of my dreams to start a small sprout garden as soon as possible!
Experiment and have fun
Get your curiosity and childish spirit out and have fun experimenting. With a little bit of creativity and some basic gardening supplies, you can easily turn a small balcony or windowsill into a thriving vegetable garden.
Some popular options for apartment gardening include herbs, cherry tomatoes, and microgreens but many say that lettuce is the easiest and most convenient step to start with! And, given how quickly and easily they can be harvested, it can pay off quickly for your efforts.
These types of greens are relatively low-maintenance and don't require a lot of space. All you need is a container with drainage holes, potting soil, lettuce seeds, and a sunny location. Simply plant the seeds in the soil, water them regularly, and give them a little love and attention. In no time, you'll have a batch of crisp and flavorful lettuce ready for quick and healthy snacks.
READY FOR MORE?
If you're more ambitious, thinking on a larger scale, or you already have some experience, there is much more than you can try. There are technologies that can broaden your perspective and options for growing vegetables at home.
Let technology help you with your homegrown vegetables
In the last years, there has been plenty of innovation in the area of growing plants and vegetables indoors and the market is no short of gadgets with which to experiment.
Discover the magic of growing your own vegetables all year round with hydroponics and smart gardens. Regardless of your level of experience, these cutting-edge technologies make it simple and practical to bring the joy of gardening into your home. Hydroponics is a cool way to grow veggies without soil! Instead of dirt, plants are grown in a nutrient-rich water solution that gives them everything they need to grow big and strong. This means you can grow fresh, delicious vegetables right in your home, no garden required! There are small systems that could also fit in small apartments. Imagine being able to eat wholesome, fresh greens in your home, even in the midst of the winter.
Well-known brands like Bosch have created several variations of these smart growers, at prices that fit different budgets. The SmartGrow 3*** is the smallest and most affordable, with the SmartGrow Life and SmartGrow 6, offering more space and more sophisticated solutions.
But if Bosch is a bit pricey for you, we have found a budget-friendly alternative with the Livoo Indoor Garden*** from VidaXL. A simpler yet effective solution.
However, if you are in a region where water is an issue, you may be more interested in methods like aeroponics that optimise water usage. Aeroponics is a drip irrigation system, in which the plant's roots are suspended in the air and a nutrient-rich mist of water is sprayed onto the roots at regular intervals. With this advanced growing technology, you can enjoy nutrient-rich homegrown vegetables that taste better than anything you can buy in a store.
Why not start today?
For me, growing your own vegetables means seizing control. It's a rewarding activity that allows me to add fresh, healthy produce to my kitchen while being self-sufficient. You don't need to be an expert to take the first steps toward creating your own home garden and enjoying the simple pleasures of growing your own food.
So, why not start your journey to self-sufficiency today? Whether you live in an urban apartment or on a rural farm, you can create your own garden, no matter how small, and enjoy the benefits of homegrown vegetables.
Let's embrace the power of self-sufficiency and take control of our food supply, one vegetable at a time!
He, who plants a garden, plants happiness.
Lola is the founder of Green Cloud Nine. Nature lover and environmental activist since she was a teenager, Lola has always been a great fan of homesteading and she is continuously experimenting and finding her own way to be more self-sufficient and sustainable.