Starting Your “Apartment Sized” Garden-For Beginners

08 March 2013 | By

Now is the time to begin planting your seeds

Living in an apartment doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a garden of your own.  Starting small can be the way to go especially if it the first garden you have ever created.  This article is for the young college student or person who lives in a smaller space they find to be kind of tight.  It can be done; you don’t even need a balcony.

I will explain a few tips to help you have a successful first “Apartment Garden.”

First know you are planting a Container Garden vs. a garden in the ground.

You will need containers of many different sizes and will need to match them based on what you are growing.  An example of this is, if you are growing lettuce, lettuce potentially grows out and up, you will need a container that can hold the roots and the space of the leaves.  If you are growing carrots, they grow down so you will need a deep container for carrots.  Be prepared for when your plants become larger.  Do you have a container that will be able to fit each plant in its new stage?

Starting Containers

  • Egg cartons
  • Cut toilet paper rolls into 2.5” sections, fold one end in making small cups
  • Ones that you can buy from Garden supply store
  • Ice trays
  • Compost able seed starters (handy when transferring to next container)

Mid-Sized Containers

  • Random containers you find at thrift stores (opaque)
  • Coffee tins
  • Reuse containers (coffee creamers, soup cans, bottles-opaque)
  • Medium sized flower pots

Large Pots

Do you have room and window space for when your plants become large?  I ended up stopping all my plants at the “Medium size.”  Know that your plants, fruits and veggies will only grow as large as the container itself.  If you plan to grow large fruits and vegetables, be ready for the space they will need.  I would buy large pots when you see that they make it to the medium size stage as larger pots can be expensive.  Try to find some at thrift stores or garage sales while your plants are in the small stages.


Buying Seeds

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Think about how much sun your plants will be getting.  The more sun light, the better, but if it is slightly shaded, leafy plants tend to do well in shady conditions.  Green Peppers grow very well! (Midwest side of the country)  Read the back of the packets, they can be handy for knowing what type of light each plant needs.  Do a little research on whatever you decide to grow.  Ideally you should know what each type of plant needs during each phase of its life.


Amount of Seeds

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If you want one or 2 solid plants for each type of seed, I would plant 6 of each seed.  To be safe, for every plant you want, I would plant 3 seeds for it.  They could all sprout, they could all not grow, and this is normal.  If the seeds don’t sprout after a long time, it might have just been a bad seed.


Start Your Garden


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What You Will Need

  • Containers
  • Seeds
  • Water
  • Spray bottle (handy and optional)
  • Spoon or small scoop for soil (other option is your hand)
  • Seed starting soil
  • Labels & permanent marker for your plants
  • Cellophane
  • Window with sun
  • If your plants need a pot that can “drain” be ready with pots that drain or add rocks for the medium-to-large stages of these plants

Take your soil and scoop a little into each container, filling each section or container to the top.

I like to water them now, but you can do it later if you prefer.  You will see the levels of soil lower.  Add more soil as needed.  You want each section to be at least ¾ full in the end.

Once each section is at least ¾ full and moist, take one seed per section and with your finger press down a cm or so into the soil and ensure it is covered with soil.

Once all seeds are planted, you might want to make them more moist, use a spray bottle to mist all your planted seeds.

Take some cellophane and cover the container(s.)  The cellophane will lock in moisture and warmth from the sun.

Read your seed packet to know when you can expect sprouts to begin showing!

Daily, continue to make sure soil is always moist to the touch.  This usually involves some type of watering each day and is usually the step that gets skipped the most.

Carefully re-pot when you see the plant is almost the size of its container or isn’t growing any larger.

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