How To Grow Food In Your Apartment

Gardeners don't always have a lot of space to indulge their green thumb in apartments. However, you can usually find a sunny corner to test your gardening skills and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Even if you live in a small apartment, chances are you can still grow edible plants. Apart from typical houseplants, certain herbs, fruits, and vegetables may even downright thrive in an apartment garden. You should start by cultivating your gardening skills with a few small containers. The dimensions of the containers, as well as the abundance of sunlight, need to be carefully considered when choosing your plants.

All plants have particular growing requirements that must be met. Here's how to get your apartment garden off to a good start.

The main growth requirements for apartment gardeing

Let there be light

To thrive and reproduce, most fruiting and flowering plants require at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily. You may not have as much sun as you'd like in an urban environment, but balconies and rooftops provide the best chance for exposure to the sun. If you are growing on a windowsill, you can select plants that require less sunlight or grow lights to simulate sunlight.


Your apartment garden may use containers, therefore standard garden soil will not work. Because soil will compact in containers, access to oxygen and water will be hampered, so you must use a well-draining potting mix. It's light and fluffy and efficiently supplies oxygen and water to root health. It's somewhat sterile, so you will not bring diseases or pests from it.


Watering multiple containers daily is necessary. So pick a location with an accessible water source for your container garden. Iced tea cans are handy if you have many to water, since they are simple to carry and don't need to be coiled away. When you need it, you can use a hose attached to a sink faucet to fill your containers.

If you want to grow your plants on an indoor windowsill, you must provide extra humidity, especially during the summer months. You can spritz the plants or place them in a tray of water to help them absorb extra humidity.


If your plants will be exposed to high winds, especially on a rooftop or a balcony, your containers might need some added protection. Wind can tear through leaves and overturn top-heavy pots. To protect them, you can set up a screen or a railing, or make sure your containers are wide and heavy enough to anchor the plants.

The sheer weight of the matter

A container of soil becomes heavy after being soaked, and it weighs three times as much as it does when dry. Check with your apartment building's superintendent or landlord to learn whether your container can handle the weight. Window boxes should be attached to the window sill. If you're growing on a balcony or rooftop, you may be restricted by weight restrictions.


Many plants dislike too much of a breeze. If your growing spot will be exposed to winds, for instance on a rooftop or a balcony, your containers might need some added protection. Also, wind can tear overturn top-heavy pots and present quite a risk to unsuspecting pedestrians underneath your urban farm! 

Which plants are best suited to apartments?

You may grow most plants in containers to some extent. An apple tree, for example, might be out of the question, but skinny columnar types can fit in a one-square-foot corner of your balcony. Think about what you like to eat and choose a few types of plants to experiment with. You may start with seeds, which are cheaper and offer a greater selection. Alternatively, you can create your garden sooner with small nursery plants.

Here are a few crops to consider:


Tomato plants can get large and heavy, but they also grow well in pots. They will do best in a container that is at least 14 inches in diameter but even larger is better. Make sure you choose a dwarf or a determinate variety (i.e. one that can stand on its own; without support). 


Many herbs grow well in containers, although they won't grow quite as large and bushy as they would outdoors in the ground. Also, you might have to replace your plants if you harvest them frequently. Popular choices for apartment gardening include mint, chives, parsley, lavender, basil, and thyme.

Salad greens

Salad favorites, such as lettuce, spinach, and arugula, are fast-growing, shallow-rooted plants. They're not overly fussy about their growing conditions, especially if they just receive plenty of water.

Chili peppers

Hot peppers grow very well in pots, and they can even set fruits year-round. You also can try growing sweet peppers in containers.


Strawberries are not just delicious, they can also be beautiful to look at. Strawberry plants typically need at least six hours of sun per day and consistently moist soil.

Dwarf lemon trees

Some of the easiest fruits to grow in a container are dwarf citrus trees.

Caring for your apartment garden

There are certain tasks that you can expect to tend to regularly in your apartment garden, including:


The most vital gardening job is constantly watering your plants. Even if your garden is subject to occasional rain, that may not be enough water. The soil in pots dries out quickly, especially as your plant grows. When poking the soil with your finger, make sure it feels dry if it needs watering. 

Pests and diseases

These have a way of finding plants no matter where you grow them. Inspect your plants for problems whenever you water them or harvest. If you spot signs of pests or diseases, such as discoloring or holes in the leaves, move that plant away from the other plants until the problem is identified and remedied.


Fertilize your plants on a regular schedule. A water-soluble fertilizer that can be added when you water is usually the easiest method. Also, note whether your potting mix has fertilizer already in it, as this typically will delay the need for you to feed your plants!


Ah, the fun part. You will want to learn when your specific plants are at their peak for harvesting. When they are, don't hesitate to start picking the fruits of your labor. In some cases, harvesting actually promotes the plant to produce even more food!

The final word on home vegetable gardening

Growing vegetables at home doesn't have to be difficult. Growing food in an apartment might sound very challenging compared to having access to your own private acres. Apartment gardening does come with actual upsides.

Benefits to apartment gardening

You will be even closer to your plants, meaning you're even closer to all the benefits that tending to plants comes with. For instance, caring for plants brings  stress relief, boosts creativity, productivity, and focus, and promotes recovery. There's even some evidence that houseplants may positively influence the air quality in your home as well. Another major benefit to growing your garden indoors is that you control the weather. You also have an extended growing season, in that you can add light and heat as required.

Don't hesitate to get started on your home vegetable garden today!

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