How to grow vegetables in your apartment

Apartment living has it’s perks; no lawn to mow, no garden beds to weed. It is nice to have the "How to grow vegetables in your apartment"

How to grow vegetables in your apartment

Apartment living has it’s perks; no lawn to mow, no garden beds to weed. It is nice to have the satisfaction of growing your own vegetables though. Whether you’ve just got an indoor area, a small balcony, or if you’re lucky enough to have a rooftop, you’ll find there are a number of vegetable gardening ideas that will suit your apartment.

potato apartment vegetables
Source: Pinterest

Container planting

Container planting is a great option for growing vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, bush tomatoes, climbing beans, root vegetables, lettuce and salad leaves. Containers come in all different shapes, sizes and materials. Do some homework on the required growing conditions of whatever it is you’d like to plant to and check the size required. The best thing about container planting is if you do move out, you can take your crop with you.

Wooden planters – construct your own using old pallets (often free from industrial sites if you ask politely) or find some gorgeous planter ideas online

vegetables gardening wooden planter
Source: Pinterest

Need some help putting your wooden planter together? Get some help from an Airtasker handyman in your neighbourhood.

Plastics planters – plastic pots are cheap and readily available from gardening and hardware stores, or you can recycle old plastic bottles to make your own apartment planters

vegetables gardening plastic planters softdrink bottles
Source: Just Imagine

Terracotta and ceramic pots – they look great, especially for things like citrus and olives – but beware they can get a bit heavy

cauliflower vegetables terracotta pot
Source: Balcony Garden Web

Smart pots – made from porous, lightweight material, they encourage drainage and root growth, and can be washed and folded up when not needed

Tip: A small hessian bag will work just as well for planting potatoes.

smart pot vegetables gardening
Source: Nutriculture

Herbs and micro-herbs in tins

Use old tin cans and biscuits tins to house herbs and micro herbs. Although they’re not technically vegetables, they are perfect for growing indoors and outdoors in apartments.

vegetables herbs tin gardening
Source: Pinterest

‘No dig’ wheelbarrow veggie patch

A wheelbarrow is a fantastic way to create a mini, movable vegetable patch that you can chase the sun with. The ‘no dig’ or ‘lasagna’ (layered) method of preparing a garden bed will work great for this style of gardening as it provides maximum nutrients with little effort to maintain. Follow the steps below to get started:

Step 1
Scout out a pre-loved wheelbarrow at a second hand store or pick up a cheap one from a gardening and hardware retailer. Make sure you bring your wheelbarrow to your balcony or rooftop before filling, otherwise it will be too heavy to move.

Step 2
Create some drainage by either drilling holes in the base (you’ll need to keep a container underneath the wheelbarrow to catch any excess water that leaks through), or by filling the bottom few inches with light stones.

wheelbarrow vegetables
Source: Lushome

Step 3
Prepare the ‘no dig’ garden bed:

  1. Start with a layer of newspaper – wet it
  2. Add a layer of mulch – lucerne hay or sugar cane mulch works well
  3. Add a layer of manure – chicken, cow or horse manure work well for vegetable growing
  4. Add a layer of straw
  5. Add another layer of manure (clearly this type of gardening is best kept to outdoor areas)
  6. Add a layer of good compost
  7. Depending on how deep your wheelbarrow is, repeat

Check out the ABC’s step by step guide to No Dig gardening. If you’d rather leave the garden bed construction (read: manure layering) to someone else, get an Airtasker gardening professionl to help you out.

Step 4
Plant your vegetables. It’s up to you to decide if you want to start with seeds or seedlings (for beginner gardeners, seedlings are a great head start). You can even use vegetable scraps from your crisper; they’ll do remarkably well! Try celery, shallots, carrots, lettuce and chili.

Root vegetables in glass

Make a masterpiece out of your indoor vegetable garden by planting brightly coloured root vegetables or herbs in a glass jar or container. Start collecting mason jars, vases or vintage jugs and try planting a spring mix of carrots, spring onions and raddish. Most root systems prefer to be kept in the dark while the leaves enjoy a little light, so tinted glass containers are ideal for planting vegetables and herbs that require a decent amount of sunlight.

herbs vegetables mason jars
Source: Wonderful DIY

Strawberries 

Not technically a vegetable, but so great to grow in an apartment that we couldn’t leave them out!  Strawberries do well in containers or hanging baskets. There are even varieties that require no sun and can be completely grown indoors, such as the Alpine variety.

strawberries vegetables fruits
Source: Plant Care Today

Mushrooms

Don’t have much sunlight available? No worries! Mushrooms love cool, dark places. Get a complete starter kit online for as little as $20 (Enfield Produce Pet and Garden Supplies).

mushroom kit vegetables
Source: Mushroom Kit

Have you got any more fantastic vegetable gardening ideas suitable for apartment living? Leave us a comment below.

Beginner’s guide to: Gardening

If you’re embarking on your first gardening project and you’re not sure where to start, our beginner gardening tips will "Beginner’s guide to: Gardening"

Beginner’s guide to: Gardening

If you’re embarking on your first gardening project and you’re not sure where to start, our beginner gardening tips will help you succeed.  Knowing where to start, planning and understanding your garden design will be the key to your success. Before you get down to the local landscaping store, there are a few considerations you need to make.

gardening roses and bench seats
Source: Pinterest

What type of gardening do you want to enjoy?

How do you want to use your garden? Are you doing some landscaping to finish off a newly constructed home, or giving your existing garden a facelift? Will this space be used as an entertaining area, children’s play area, veggie patch or chook pen? Do you want to build a feature garden? Understanding the purpose of your garden will help you plan the design.

tuscan gardening
Source: Pinterest

Landscaping and layout

Think about the space you have and how you might make the most out of it by carefully planning the layout. Garden goers with large, country back yards are blessed in their options. But if you’re in a terrace house in suburban Sydney and don’t have more than a 4 meter squared courtyard, you’ll need to be a little bit smarter with what you have. Draw up your design and experiment. Yates have a really handy Virtual Garden tool that you can use; it takes in to account your climate, garden size, what type of garden you’re interested in, and your level of gardening expertise.

Design ideas

A little bit of design inspiration never goes astray. Again, thinking about the space and how you want to use it, seek out plants, grass, garden accessories and possibly even outdoor furniture to complete your design. Are you into water features? Would a flower arch complete your garden’s English tea party look? Would a grape vine work nicely with a Tuscan theme? Landscaping centers often have mini display gardens that you can walk through, and there is plenty of design inspiration online.

beehive gardening
Image credit: Harold Lloyd
Source: Homestead Revival
Get your own homegrown honey by having a quaint little back yard beehive.

wheelbarrow flower gardening
Source: Italia Post
Find an old wheelbarrow in a second hand store and bring it to life with some brightly coloured flowers.

We also have some great small backyard design ideas and quirky garden design ideas for you to look at.

Drainage and ground preparation

When planning your garden, don’t forget to consider things like drainage and ground preparation. You don’t want half of your backyard flooded and turning in to a mud puddle every time you get a sprinkling of rain. You may need to level the ground, dig it out, and even prepare the soil if it’s lacking nutrients. If you have a bit of labouring work ahead of you, think about when the right time to do it will be; there’s no point in scheduling a landscaping job in the ‘wet season’ (okay, ‘wet weeks’ in Australia); mud and rain won’t allow for much productivity.

lawn and turf gardening
Source: DIY Network

Read up on what you are planting

Research is key for beginner green thumbs. Know whether the plants, grass, flowers, vegetables, etc. you are interested in will do well in your climate, how to care for them, and what their maintenance requirements are. For example, how much water does Sir Walter grass need? Will it do well in a hot climate? How much sun does it need? What are the best conditions for laying turf and how long will it take to settle?

Tip: ‘Sun-mapping’ is a thing – how much sun does your garden actually get and where? Spend a day outside to find out.

sunshine gardening
Source: Thiên nhiên

Spacing plants appropriately

When designing a dream garden, something many enthusiastic beginners neglect to think about is spacing of plants. If you’re constructing a tropical paradise of different varieties of palm trees to surround your pool, anticipate for them to get big. They’ll drop fronds, seeds and maybe even coconuts; they can grow over roofs, pools and block gutters. Do some research on the species you want to use and space plants appropriately; they grow.

Maintenance

Once you’ve established your garden, to keep it looking amazing you’ll need to have a good maintenance routine in place. Think about this in the planning stage. Consider:

  • Lawn care – aerating, watering and mowing
  • Weeding
  • Hedging
  • Pruning
  • Fertilising
  • Cleaning (e.g. bird baths)
  • Pest control
  • Irrigation, sprinklers
  • Gardening tools and equipment, e.g. hoses, shovels, etc.

gardening hose
Source: hey there, home

Budget check

Budget check = Reality check.  Now that you’ve got your design planned out, measure out your requirements (i.e. 10 meters squared of that beautiful Sir Walter turf) and cost it out before you get started. Don’t forget to consider ongoing maintenance costs as well; think in terms of money, time and effort.

Get ready to get started!

By having a good, well planned garden design, you’ll be on the right path to green thumb success. If you’ve identified certain tasks that you’d like to do yourself, think about your skills and experience and consider watching some online videos, or getting advice from a professional before you start. If for example, you don’t want to level the backyard or lay turf yourself, Airtasker have plenty of landscaping professionals available to assist. Get a free quote today.

Vegetable Gardening in Autumn and Winter

Is your vegetable patch beginning to look a little under the weather (pun intended) as the cooler months arrive? The "Vegetable Gardening in Autumn and Winter"

Vegetable Gardening in Autumn and Winter

Is your vegetable patch beginning to look a little under the weather (pun intended) as the cooler months arrive? The drop in temperature is no excuse to give up your green thumb just yet.

Vegetable gardening at this time of year is actually surprisingly forgiving for autumn vegetables and winter growing. Planting now will allow your little veggie patch babies a few months to establish themselves before Spring and Summer roll in. It’s all about knowing what to grow, where and when.

Vegetable gardening – what to grow, where and when

Seed packets and seedling labels will often tell you ideal sowing and growing information. There are some vegetables that will do reasonably well across most climates in the cooler months. According to Stephanie Alexander’s (a.k.a. The Fairy Godmother of growing edible produce in Australia) The Kitchen Garden Companion book, the following vegetables and herbs will do well across most of Australia if planted in Autumn and Winter:

  • Beetroot
  • Broad beans
  • Cabbage
  • Coriander
  • Lettuce
  • Blueberries (warm climate varieties now exist!)
  • Garlic
  • Parsley
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Rhubarb
  • Spinach
  • Tomatoes

vegetable gardening beetroot
Source: Pixabay 

Seeds and seedlings

There’s no right or wrong way to do it; enthusiastic gardeners can choose to grow from scratch, or those who prefer to get a head start can purchase already established seedlings to transplant in to their ‘forever garden’. Farmers markets are a great spot to pick up seeds and seedlings, as are online retailers such as the Lost Seed and Southern Harvest. Your local vegetable gardening stores and nurseries will also have a great variety.

Tip: When buying online you should be aware of quarantine restrictions that may affect delivery to certain states/territories.

vegetable gardening seedlings
Source: Flickr

Garden design

Arguably the best part of making a garden is the part where you get to choose your design. Pinterest is a mecca for all forms of vegetable gardening inspiration: bed, box, containers, raised beds, vertical, hanging, potted, trellises, indoors, outdoors, rooftop, etc.; the options are endless! Get inspired.

vegetable garden design inspiration
Source: Flickr

Prepare and plant your garden

Once you’ve chosen your design, there’s prepping of soil, planting and nurturing to be done. If you’re finding yourself short of time (or just want to curl up under the blanket and watch Netflix instead), you can post a gardening task to get some help. If you’re into DIY, read on.

Soil

For bigger garden beds, landscaping businesses sell good quality vegetable garden soil by the cubic meter. You can get soil that’s already been conditioned and is ready for planting. If you’re doing something smaller scale, you can get bags of good quality soil and soil conditioning products from gardening retailers.

Remove leftover mulch

If you’ve already got an established garden bed and it’s got mulch on it, make sure your remove it. The purpose of mulch is to keep moisture in and evaporation rates won’t be as high in cooler weather, so you don’t need it. You don’t want to end up with soggy soil and unhappy plants.

Plant food and worms

If your soil hasn’t already been conditioned, you’ll want to invest in a good quality fertiliser routine to ensure your plants are well nourished and grow up big and strong. Blood and bone, seaweed plant tonics like Seasol, and compost are popular choices. Worm poo is also a great fertiliser. The added bonus of having worms in your garden is that they aerate the soil.

vegetable garden earthwormsSource: Flickr

To keep your garden going, ensure you establish a good watering and maintenance routine – you’ll be reaping the fruits (or veggies) of your labour in no time. If you need some more help, we’ve got plenty more gardening tips just for you. Happy vegetable gardening!

Garden and Landscaping Ideas For Small Backyards

Inner city life means that outdoor space is hard to come by and large backyards are almost impossible, so it’s "Garden and Landscaping Ideas For Small Backyards"

Garden and Landscaping Ideas For Small Backyards

Inner city life means that outdoor space is hard to come by and large backyards are almost impossible, so it’s important to work smart with what you’ve got.

No matter what your outdoor set up is there are garden and landscaping ideas for small backyards to reinvent your space.

Take a seat

Adding a bench means if you are stuck for space it won’t be taken up extra chairs and tables. You’ve also got the opportunity to turn it into a feature with plants and creative lighting.

small garden - bench
Source: Lus Home

Mirror mirror on the wall…

As mentioned as one of our Quirky Gardening Ideas, mirrors are a great way to make smaller gardens look larger and also reflect light. Whether you use big or small ones, a mirror will make an impact.

700_hi-low-mirrors-in-gardens-06

Grow some Ivy
Using crawlers such as Ivy or jasmine you can turn a boring wall into something a little more interesting. All you need to do is put some wire in place and attach the crawler, then as is grows it’s important to prune it and keep it growing in the right direction.

small garden - crawler
Source: Getty Images

The only way it up

If you have a rooftop garden that is. By having your own private rooftop it really allows you to increase your value by turning it into an outdoor dining area, or perhaps an area to go and relax. You could even create your own herb garden.

small garden - roof
Source: Architecture and Design

Make a water feature

Adding a focal point such as a water fountain or pond is a lovely calming solution to draw your attention to when you’re outside. This type of installation is well suited to inner city living.

small garden - water
Source: Quoteimg

The grass is always greener…

Adding grass to you backyard will make your area seem larger and also great for the kids and pets. It can be real or astro turf, depending on how much home gardening maintenance you’re willing to put up with.

small garden - grass

Edible plants
You can still have your herb garden by utilising some of the blank wall space. You can recycle pot plants and turn it into a DIY project, or buy some new ones.

small garden - herb
Source: Movietrailers

Add some height

Horizontal gardens are the way to go if you have a very small space and still want to make an impact in a modern space. For these type of installations it might take a bit of landscape design to ensure that it’s all done correctly.

small garden - height
Source: Greenmuze