Apartment Gardening

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All our veggies lined up and waiting to be planted in their new homes.

After not having a garden for five years, Ed and I were finally able to plant a small vegetable garden this past Monday. Not only was the weather perfect, but our local Home Depot was having a major sale on plants and soil. We just had one problem: we rent an apartment. While we have access to a big yard and have the permission to build garden beds, neither one of us really want to do all of that work on someone else’s property. We also don’t want to spend a whole lot of money on something that we technically don’t own or can’t take with us when we move. So what’s an apartment dwelling gardener to do?

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Two of four plastic bins.

Plant in plastic storage bins, of course! Our landlord already gave us two 54 gallon bins that were left over from the previous owners. They’re dirty and in rough shape, so they’re perfect to use as planters. I did mention that Home Depot had a pretty awesome sale this weekend, didn’t I? We were able to snag two more 54 gallon bins for our garden for a good price. Sixteen bags of container soil and sixteen plants later, we have a great vegetable garden that is both spacious and portable. The best part about using the bins is that we can cover them after the growing season. Our plan is to let the soil dry out then cover the bins and then cover everything with a tarp to keep the ice and snow from breaking the plastic.

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Our container vegetable garden. 

Before we added the soil to the bins, we drilled ten, 3/4 inch holes in the bottoms to drain the excess water. The soil that we used is organic and specifically made for container gardening. I’m toying with the idea of adding earthworms to the containers, but Ed said they’ll all die in the winter. I also want to start composing our organic waste in a compost bin full of worms that I’ll keep in my foyer, which is cool and dark. Of course, I’ll have to do some research before I do anything. I could just turn the soil and add organic fertilizer/compost next spring.

We planted two types of tomato plants that are specifically bred for container gardening — two Patio tomatoes and Husky Cherry tomatoes. We planted three zucchinis, two types of cucumbers — Bush and Boston Pickling, two sweet basil, two Thai basil, and two lemon thyme. We have packets of lettuce seeds, but we need another bin. A long squat planter will do the trick.

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Messy, happy, and quite tanned already.

As you can see from the above photo, I’m THRILLED to have a garden again. Gardening means pickling, cooking, and good health. It’s a fun activity that Ed and I do together. Ed is already talking about all of the zucchini muffins and cookies, salads, pickles, and other dishes that I’ll be making all summer. YUM!

Let a bliss-filled summer begin!

  11 comments for “Apartment Gardening

  1. 29 May 2019 at 1:33 pm

    I’m glad you have a garden and glad for the organic soil etc. It was very disappointing for me to discover that many of the worms they use for composting actually destroy the soil if they get released, so in case you are thinking of composting with them and maybe letting them go eventually to avoid freezing, it might be worth reading up on it since the wrong kind of worms can destroy so much territory–

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    • 30 May 2019 at 10:35 am

      Good grief! After I read your comment I did some reading about earthworm care and composting worms. Turns out that earthworms won’t survive the winter in the container and that red wigglers aren’t suggested for gardening. There goes that idea. Ah well, looks like I’ll have to wait until I buy a house to cultivate earthworms, honey bees, and ladybugs. Thanks for the heads up.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 30 May 2019 at 12:12 pm

        We finally bought a house in the semiboonies a couple of years ago and planned to do all that stuff, but it turns out that it’s all under the control of the animals here–chipmunks, deer, squirrels, birds, woodchucks, and they eat every single thing they want, so all the plants and seeds I naively put out the first year disappeared and never showed up. I planted quarter poounds of chickory and lupine, and NOT ONE came up. They seem to let morning glories grow, and forsythias–

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  2. 29 May 2019 at 10:37 pm

    Three zucchini plants? You’ll be rolling in them! Have fun!

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    • 30 May 2019 at 10:38 am

      Yup, that was the plan. We’re looking to do a lot of baking and cooking with them this year. I have a really cool zucchini “ravioli” recipe that I want to try. Basically, you thinly slice the zucchini, cross two slices, fill with ricotta and mozzarella, fold slices, and place them in a single layer in a shallow casserole dish. Top with sauce and more mozzarella, bake, and VOILA! YUMMO!

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  3. 1 Jun 2019 at 1:41 pm

    I wish I had a green thumb. I can’t even keep a cactus alive! I always say I can cook the veggies, just can’t grow em!

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    • 2 Jun 2019 at 11:37 am

      I’ll keep you posted on my bounty! I’m sure I’ll have more zucchinis than I can handle.

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  4. Jenna
    3 Jun 2019 at 8:07 am

    Sounds like you are happy and having a good time being home, I am glad to hear that. You are going to have lots of tomatoes!

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    • 3 Jun 2019 at 11:34 am

      Thank you! As for the tomatoes — the cherries are for the dog mostly. I’m serious. He loves getting into the garden and nibbling from the plants. I have a ton of tomato recipes that I’m be cooking, so it’s all good. 🙂

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  5. 4 Jun 2019 at 11:27 am

    I’ve done indoor worm composting. It’s pretty great! And then you don’t worry about releasing them, just keep on doing it indoors and removing the compost when you need it. We just used a small plastic bin under the sink. Red wigglers should live/breed indefinitely if kept indoors.

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    • 6 Jun 2019 at 12:13 pm

      WAHOO! Thanks for this information!!! This is exactly what I want. Ok, so compost indoors and then scoop out the good stuff, leaving the worms to keep working. HUGS! You rock.

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