No matter how small your living space, there is still room to grow a few edible plants.
Even a window box or small balcony garden can be surprisingly productive and low-maintenance. Read on to find out what grows best and how to get started building a balcony or window-box garden in your city apartment.
Our top 7 picks for apartment gardeners
If you’re living in a city apartment, there’s no point trying to be completely self-sufficient in fruit and veg, but the right varieties can be worth the time. Here are our seven top plants that grow well in small spaces.
These are a great choice for novice gardeners. They are easy to grow and full of flavour, so a little goes a long way. Plus they tend to be over-packaged and expensive in the supermarket. Basil, coriander and parsley are all popular—grow from seed or start with small plants. Rosemary and thyme are tough varieties that will stand up to the hot Australian climate.
Small varieties such as Lebanese and dwarf cucumbers grow easily on a sunny balcony. A climbing frame placed over your pot will allow them vertical space to grow and if you treat them well, you should get a delicious harvest.
Another popular homegrown choice. Cherry tomatoes are better than larger ones in small spaces as they produce well and are less prone to splitting.
Salads are easily grown from seed and are probably one of the most cost-effective edible plants to grow, when you consider how many soggy bags of expensive salad end up in the bin. Varieties like rocket will grow very quickly and you’ll end up with lovely flowers once they bolt. Or choose a packet of mixed leaves and simply pick a few from each plant when you make a salad.
Spinach is great for shadier spots and again, you can harvest what you need. Rainbow chard also looks pretty with its coloured stems, grows well and keeps on replenishing itself so you have a continuous supply.
Beans are good if you have space for a trellis that they can grow up. There are lots of different varieties including green, purple and yellow, and again you can also enjoy their flowers.
These are tough little plants that thrive in pots on a sunny balcony. A great choice if you like spicy food or making your own curry pastes.
You’ll need a few things to get started with your edible garden:
Some planter boxes – either big round pots or ones you can hang over your balcony or set on your window box. Try garden centres, Gumtree or reuse containers such as olive oil tins for your plants. We also like this herb planter from IKEA.
Soil – choose one that’s suitable for growing vegetables.
Seeds, seedlings or small pot plants, depending on how patient you are. Check out garden centres or local markets for plants, or order seeds online. If you buy heritage varieties you will be able to save the seeds and plant them the following year. Choose varieties that suit your particular growing conditions – most plants need around 5-6 hours of sun a day.
Canes for climbing plants, twine, a watering can and some organic fertiliser for vegetables—Seasol is good.
All plants and seeds come with information about optimal growing conditions, and ‘right plant right place’ is a good rule of thumb. Once you’ve planted your seeds or seedlings, just water them regularly and feed them every so often and they will thrive.
Talk to us
Are you a city apartment dweller with a green thumb? We’d love to know your favourite varieties and your tips for gardening in a city apartment in the comments below.