Live in a tiny space but want to grow some of your own food? No problem. There are all kinds of ways to grow healthy food in cramped quarters, and you may even save a few bucks on groceries in the process.
Growing your own food is like printing your own money, and we can all benefit from that right now. Not only will a vegetable garden help you save money on the grocery bill, but the food you grow will be more nutritious and taste so much better.
If you live in a small space, like an apartment or tiny house, you may think you can’t grow a garden. However, it’s possible to grow at least some of your own food even in a small space. Here are five ways to grow a vegetable garden in an apartment or tiny house.
A Sunny Patio
If you are fortunate enough to have a patio with at least six to eight hours of sunshine per day, you can easily grow some veggies in containers. Even a shady patio can be used to grow vegetables such as beets, carrots, and lettuce.
Most vegetables grow well in containers. Ideal crops for containers include tomatoes, potatoes, lettuce, spinach, scallions, zucchini, bush beans, carrots, beets, and herbs. Don’t forget to plant a few flowers to attract pollinators!
You can use a variety of containers. Plastic pots, cloth pots, and wine barrel planters all work well. You can also reuse any kind of plastic container from the store as long as you drill some drainage holes in the bottom. It’s pretty easy to find free pallets, staple landscape fabric on the back of them, and stand them up on their side to lean against the wall and create a vertical garden.
Vertical gardening is a great strategy to maximize space in small areas. You can use trellises in your containers for climbing plants such as pole beans, peas, and cucumbers. Garden towers and pallets are ideal for strawberries, greens, and herbs. Even a utility shelf on your patio can dramatically increase your growing square footage.
Grow Tents and Closets
Grow tents kits and closets are ideal for growing veggies because you have more control over your growing environment. You can use lights, fans, and dehumidifiers to keep your temperature around 74°F, your humidity around 50 per cent, and your lights on a set schedule.
Your Kitchen Counter
If you don’t have any outdoor space for growing, you can always bring your veggies inside. It’s easy to mount a small fluorescent light under your kitchen cabinets and grow a few small things on your kitchen counter.
Herbs are ideal for this setup, and it’s nice to have easy access to them for cooking. You can also grow a small crop of lettuce or spinach this way. Microgreens and sprouts are quick and easy to grow on your countertop as well.
As with any indoor growing situation, you’ll want to make sure the environment is conducive to growing. The temperature should be between 65-75°F and your light should be on a timer. Herbs and greens should get 12-18 hours of light per day and have at least six hours of darkness at night for them to grow at their best.
If you don’t have counter space, move your indoor vegetable garden to a blank wall. You can install a shelf with a grow light and follow the same light and temperature recommendations as you would need on your countertop. If your wall garden gets enough light from your windows, you can forego supplemental lighting.
There are also plenty of beautiful wall planters you can find online that will turn your garden into a work of art. Some are made with decorative pots and intricate metal designs. Others are felt hangings with pockets that end up looking like a solid wall of greens once your plants grow. You could have a wall full of salad to pick for dinner every single night!
Lettuce growing in a tower garden
A tower garden allows you to grow 20+ plants such as fruits, vegetables, spices, or flowers using the one unit.
Stackable tower gardens can be used to grow plants indoors and outdoors if you’re short on space. Their height is flexible, and you can stack them to be any size. They can have 20 or more planting sites in one tower.
Some towers are strictly for soil, while others have a hydroponic design. Some even come with fluorescent lights attached, although those towers tend to be more expensive. If you don’t want to use grow lights with them, you can place your tower in front of a south facing window that gets plenty of sun as long as you rotate the tower and make sure all of your plants get light.
You can grow most plants in a tower garden, but strawberries and greens work very well. Towers don’t work well for plants like broccoli or cabbage that get very large, or for root crops needing more soil space.
An empty closet won’t take up additional space in your home, but if you don’t have an extra closet you can put a grow tent in the corner of a room. They come in sizes as small as 2x4 feet or 4x4 feet.
A wire utility shelf with four or five shelves will maximize your square footage inside of the tent and the wire shelving is easy to hang fluorescent lights on. You can also use containers with a trellis for vining plants, or without a trellis for root crops. If you have a 4x4-foot grow tent, you can put a utility shelf on one side of the tent and containers and trellises on the other side.
Fluorescent lights are sufficient for growing root vegetables, greens, and herbs. However, you will need to invest in some more powerful lights if you want to grow fruiting plants like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, or watermelon. Metal halide (MH) and high-pressure sodium (HPS) lights will allow you to grow a wider variety of crops, however, they will increase the heat in such a small space and may require more fans to cool the environment.
As you can see, even if you live in a small space you still have options for growing some of your own food. Whether it’s a couple of pots on your patio, kitchen counter, or living room wall, your wallet and taste buds will thank you.