By: Dani Kessel
Produce costs so much in grocery stores (I miss farmers’ markets!) that we often forgo nutrients and flavors to meet our budget. If you live in a house with a yard, you can grow a large garden. You can garden for fruits, vegetables, and herbs. But, many individuals live in apartments which may or may not have a balcony. Space is tighter; we have to be more strategic. So, herb gardens are the most practical and doable option. If you’re interested in starting an apartment herb garden, here are 7 tips to get you started.
Research the herbs you’re planting
Different herbs have different soil, water, and sunlight needs. Before choosing your herbs, make sure you know the potting options. If you’re going to companion-plant herbs in a single pot, ensure they require the same care. Also, know your herbs’ behavior patterns. For instance, catnip and mint takeover basically every plant and all of the available space. Furthermore, each plant needs its own spacing. If you don’t give them enough space, they will kill each other by over competing.
Use potting soil, not regular dirt
Potting soil contains the nutrients needed to help your herb garden thrive. Normal dirt from outside isn’t as likely to provide the right minerals for growth.
Ensure good drainage or self-watering planters
Whether you are using store-bought pots or homemade containers, you need drainage holes in traditional herb gardens. This prevents root rot, over-watering, and bacterial growth. The other option, if you don’t want to go the usual route, is using a self-watering planter. Self-watering planters can be expensive but convenient. With some DIY skills though, you can make one yourself for fairly cheap.
Don’t plan perennials with annuals
Perennial herbs live for many years, only hibernating in the winter; whereas, annual herbs only live one season then die. Because annuals have to be dug up once a year, keeping perennials and annuals in the same pot can damage the perennials when it’s time to replant annuals.
Common annuals: basil, cilantro, parsley, and dill
Common perennials: rosemary, mint, sage, lavender
Annuals can be planted together in one pot. On the other hand, perennials do best in their own pots or only two to a pot.
Harvest herbs two times a week
Herbs grow best and don’t get unruly if they are trimmed/harvested two times a week once they reach healthy maturation. This will keep the herbs growing well and provide flavor to your food.
Start from seeds, to begin with
Because they grow so unbelievably fast, it is best to start your herb garden with seeds. It won’t be long until your herb garden’s thriving. When it comes time to dig up and replant though, you can use an approximately 4-inch cutting to get it going again. Put the cutting in a clear cup of water in a sunny windowsill for a half-ish week until roots grow out. Then, you can plant it in your pot once again.
EXTRA IMPORTANT: Growing an herb garden can be more disability accessible than it may initially seem
Planters can be placed on a reachable shelf or hanging from a wall. Vertical planting can maximize space and allow folx with minimal or limited mobility to access the herbs for watering and harvesting. Insert a color-coded toothpick into each herb so you can more easily remember what’s been planted. Keep a small notebook with the day and time of planting if your memory is a struggle. Also, if you feel most comfortable using a small gardening shovel, purchasing one with a large diameter will help gardeners with decreased hand strength and dexterity. Self-watering planters and grow lights ease the upkeep. Planting perennials will reduce labor quotient. Lastly, use sticks with distinguishable, carved grooving to discern between each herb.
These tips will send you in the right direction when starting up an herb garden in your apartment. If you follow these suggestions and seek out advice from other experienced people, you’ll be able to strategize your space without overcrowding. Soon enough, with just a little patience, you’re going to add flavorful additions to tea, pasta, pizza, and so many other meals.
Thanks for taking the time to read this article. If you enjoyed it, please give it a like. Also, what are your favorite fruits, vegetables, or herbs to garden? Share with us in the comments!