Apartment Garden Is Economical
Apartment gardening is an economical way to organically grow your own herbs and vegetables in your apartment. Moreover, it can save you money in your pocket.
Growing my own food is nothing new to me. I grew up in Jamaica and my backyard was basically a farm.
My 1/4 acre backyard had different species of Mango trees. Other trees grown were: grapefruit , lime, breadfruit, ackee, guava, coconut, guinep, cherry, June plum, peas, potatoes, and yams etc.
In addition, we also grew vegetables and herbs that were harvested for the household.
Apartment Garden in the City
Apartments in the United states, especially those in NYC, are so small that growing a small garden may pose a challenge.
But starting off small with just a herb or two can give you the confidence you need to start your own apartment gardening.
Moreover, it is a fun and engaging activity for the entire family to do, especially during this COVID-19 Pandemic.
Starting An Apartment Garden Involves 3 Basic Steps.
Seeds of your choice can be purchased at your local home depot, Target or even the 99 cents store.
Get right Soil
Depending on the type of plant, it may take up to 2 weeks before the seeds start to germinate and shoot through the soil. Be patient.
Apartment Gardening Your Own Garlic and Celery
Grow Your Own Food From Your Own Food
Growing your own garlic and celery in your apartment garden can be very easy. Start off simply cutting off the bottom portion of the celery about 1 inch from the stem.
Gentle pull off a few bulbs from the glove of garlic. In a container, place garlic in a upward position making sure that the rooted portion is touching the base of the container.
Too Much Water Will Rot The Bulbs
Slowly fill container to only 1/4 inch pass the rooted area. Filling the container with too much water will rot the bulbs. If you are having trouble having the celery stump or garlic bulbs standing upwards, you can add paper towel to the base of container as a support system; just make sure to add enough water to saturate the paper towel.
Apartment Garden Needs Sun Light
Leave container with onion and celery in a lighted area of the apartment such as by a window; a balcony is great location if your apartment has one.
Wait 1-2 weeks or until you see visible signs of new growth of roots. Transfer rooted plants to soil ensuring that the newly shooted leaves are not covered in soil. Leave by window and water every 2 days or as needed.
NO Sunlight? Get Grow Light!
Grow Lights are your indoor artificial light that mimic sunlight. Plants need sunlight to grow and flourish. Sunlight is what plants use to make their food through a process called photosynthesis Clink on the highlighted link above for best grow lights on the market.
Do Not Over Water Apartment Garden
Plants such as celery, onions and garlic have a very high water content. Over watering will rot the roots and cause the plant to die.
When it is evident that the water in container starts to dry out, replenish as needed.
Grow and Learn for kids
Let your children or family discover the fun of growing their own garden with Stop & Shop Supermarket’s Grow and Learn Program.
The goal of the program is for you to get engage and learn about the process of gardening and about plants.
The program started in May 2020. The free kit that is being issued at selected stop and shop supermarkets, are given on a first come first serve basis. I received mine and have decided to use as an addition to already existing apartment garden.
Your children can enjoy an interactive learning experience with this digital garden app. They will have access to fun facts, games and even recipes. The family will also be able to track the growth progress of your seedlings.
Instead of discarding the seed of sweet peppers or scotch bonnet peppers in the garbage, air dry and then store in paper bags or zip locker bags. Make sure you label and save for next spring or summer.
Germinating Seeds for Your Apartment Garden
You can either germinate seeds and transplant to prepared soil or plant seeds directly into soil.
The use of egg paper cartons are a great way to add soil and sow the seeds for later transplant into a larger pot or even your garden.
I started planting the scotch bonnet peppers in my NYC apartment last year January.
Luckily, i have a wall to wall window in my apartment and therefore do not need a grow light. I get floods of light into the apartment most of the day.
Apartment Garden Cross Pollination
One lesson i have learned is that pepper plants blossom a lot. But for the blossom to bear fruit, the process of cross pollination must occur.
Plants outdoors has the wind and insects such as bees and birds to transfer pollen from one flower to the next. However, in an apartment setting, you have to fine a way to have the flowers cross pollinate. It took me months of pondering why the pepper tree had so much blossoms or flowers and no signs of fruit bearing.
Even though the plant is near an opened window and is exposed to wind flow, I occasionally, gentle shake the tree to initiate the process of cross pollination.
At the beginning of Summer, the pepper tree finally started bearing and i was able to reap a few scotch bonnet and sweet peppers.
For more information and recipes using scotch bonnet peppers check out a recipes using Scotch Bonnet Pepper recipe for making Jamaican Escovitch Dressing.
Apartment Gardening Sweet Basil
Sweet basil is very versatile and aromatic herbs that can be used in a variety of different dishes. Over the years, i have purchased the basil seeds at my local Target and 99 cent store.
Basil needs at least 5 hour of sunlight daily and a soil with good drainage but holds on to moisture. Miracle grow provides these favorable conditions for your apartment garden.
After your basil plants have reached it’s peak growth potential, then you can start picking the leaves. If you reaped a lot of leaves, then you can store them for later use. Here are 3 ways to store them.
1. Wash leaves. Place them on a metal tray and leave at room temperature preferably in sunlight to dry. After they are completely dried, place in zip locker bag or in a jar.
2. The best method for preserving and storing basil is freezing them. Leaves can be place in a zip locker bag and leave in freezer. This helps the herb maintain its essential oils and flavor.
Make Basil Pesto
3. Using basil to make Pesto is a good way to preserve the leaves of the basil for making your favorite dishes. See recipe in the next slide.
2 Cups Basil Leaves
4 Garlic Cloves
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Black Pepper
Juice of 1 Medium Lemon
In a food processor or blender, add all ingredients and blend to your desired consistency.
Pour mixture in a sterilized glass jar and store in refrigerator for 2-3 weeks.
How To Eat Pesto
Pesto can be added to almost every dish. I have personally added pesto to sauces, eggs and pasta. For more ways to use pesto check out these 10 Ways to Eat Pesto.
Broad Leaf Thyme
It’s about thyme you add thyme to your life. This broad leaf thyme aka Spanish thyme or Cuban Oregano, is very succulent and aromatic herb. Just a slight touch on the leaves will perfume the air with its very strong distinctive smell.
It very easy to grow roots. Just place a piece of stem in water and withing 3-5 day you will start seeing growth of new roots.
Apart from its use in the culinary arena, the broad leaf thyme is said to have a few medicinal properties.
Some Health Benefits
- Helps with bronchial issues.
- Acts as an anti-fungal and antimicrobial agent; helps with sore throat.
- Helps lower inflammation.
- Thyme tea can help you fall asleep faster
In conclusion, it’s not hard to start growing your own food in your apartment. Start off small and gradually build into growing more variety of herbs and vegetables is the best way to start.
All you need is patience, good seeds, soil, a container and a well lighted area in your apartment.
Don’t have natural light pouring into your apartment, then get a grow light.
Since we are currently living through the COVID-19 Pandemic, this is the best time for you and the family to roll up your sleeves and start your apartment garden adventure. I hope this blog provides you with some tips and ideas for starting your own apartment garden.
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