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Growing in the Concrete Jungle

 
pollinator
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Hi, Just a quick question for anyone who grows their food in an apartment.


What grows best in small spaces?


What are some tips and techniques you would share that make small space gardening bountiful?
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Need input! Seriously Scott - how much sun? a balcony or not and if yes, what orientation and how high up (wind). Are you prepared to use grow lights?

In general, if you're able to make vermicompost on at least a small scale, I'd aim for nutrient dense plants. For example, parsley can be chopped into soups or dried and sprinkled on or added to many things and has many micro-nutrients if grown in good dirt and it doesn't take too much of it to be useful. I've seen some small scale, indoor aquaponic setups, but with the large energy inputs they require, they are not sustainable. They'd still be a good learning experience with food as a side-benefit. If organic seeds are easy to access, sprouts can be an option - again, you're aiming for nutrition, not calories, if you're on a really small scale.
 
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Hey fellow apartment grower! I'm not sure what your growing space is like, but on my second floor southwest facing balcony, I've had the best success with arugula and other leafy greens, kale, chives, peas, beans, jalapenos, and basically all the herbs. Larger plants like cucumbers and tomatoes can get big FAST (even when pruning) so be sure to opt for a dwarf variety or be prepared to set up a trellising system so you can manage their growth a bit more easily. But it can be done, and it's really satisfying.

I've learned the hard way that with container gardening, you have to really keep an eye on the moisture and temperature levels. Last year I was not very diligent with my watering schedule and my corn, tomatoes and cukes ended up with a bad case of verticullum wilt at the end of the season that spread around the garden. Just be aware that plants need appropriate spacing for air flow and to water in the morning so your plants can let the excess moisture evaporate through the day. This year I'll be building some wicking/self-watering containers and using ollas to build a little more resiliency when it comes to the usual issue of fluctuating between too much and too little moisture. With that in mind, I think you could actually grow just about anything (except maybe giant pumpkins) so long as you give each plant what it needs to succeed (which will be very dependent on the environment).

P.s. If you're working with a small space, you can apply the Square foot gardening approach to container growing for a rough idea of what kind of spacing you can get away with per 1ft(ish) container. Here's a handy lil pdf: http://plantandplate.com/p-downloads/PlantandPlate-SFG-spacing.pdf

P.P.S. There's a balcony gardening webinar tomorrow if you wanna sign up! https://www.miinikaan.com/resources
 
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I’m growing my “garden” in an urban apartment, all indoors.  I already harvested one potato plant.  Now, I’ve got a tangled mess of cucumbers and some tomatoes in progress (both about to bloom), some kale, a couple more potatoes, black-eyed peas, and some miscellaneous herbs.  I also have some king oyster mushroom mycelium growing on some cardboard and coffee grounds in a couple of buckets.  My apartment gets a lot of sun, which seems to make all these plants happy.  As for the mycelium, I have very little clue what I’m doing, but what I’ve read is that oyster mushrooms like to eat paper products, so I guess we’ll see what happens.
 
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