If you’re interested in local, organic food, you’ve likely realized that it can’t really get more organic or local than your backyard. But as a renter, you probably haven’t given a lot of thought to growing food, especially if you’re an apartment renter with limited outdoor space.
The good news is that you actually can grow a number of edible plants without an expansive yard or garden by using pots. Here are 8 easy-to-grow options you should consider.
Mint is incredibly easy to grow and hard to kill, and it’s perfectly suited for growing in pots. In fact, because of mint’s tendency to spread and take over a garden, most experts recommend planting it in a pot even if you do have a big garden to work with!
Mint plants need only partial sun, so if all you’ve got to work with is an apartment window, you can still grow mint. Mint is easiest to start with a cutting from another mint plant, so if you have a friend with mint, ask if they’re willing to share.
Mint is great for mojitos, of course, but you can also add it to fruit salads and iced teas.
Many small varieties of peppers (banana peppers, hot peppers) can grow well in pots. If you’re short on space, look for a dwarf pepper plant. Pepper plants enjoy plenty of sun and water, so keep these in your sunniest spot and keep them moist.
Spinach is a fast growing plant and it doesn’t get very big, which makes it perfect for an apartment dweller. About 4-6 weeks after you plant seeds, the spinach should be ready to harvest. Spinach likes cooler weather, so it’s a great option for spring or early fall.
4. Green Onions
You can grow green onions from the ones you buy at the store, as long as they have roots attached. Use all but the bottom inch or so of the onion, and plant the bottom in a pot of soil. You can also put the onion into a glass with a bit of water. In a day or two, you should see a new onion growing out of the old root.
Nasturtiums are typically thought of as a flower (and they will beautify your window or balcony!), but they’re actually edible. Nasturtiums are simple to grow from seed, and they require only partial sun, which make them perfect for indoor or balcony growing.
There’s nothing quite like a juicy, homegrown tomato, and you can produce them in pots. Smaller tomato varieties such as grape or cherry tomatoes are the simplest and quickest to grow in a pot.
Tomatoes like six or more hours of sun per day, so put your pot in the sunniest spot you have. Use a large pot, fertilize the soil, and don’t forget to cage your tomato plant to keep it from sprawling all over your balcony.
Like tomatoes, strawberries are far better fresh from the plant than from the store. Strawberries are sometimes prone to fungal problems, and growing them in pots helps to prevent this.
If you want to keep your strawberry plants for a few years, you’ll want to pinch off the flowers of the plants for the first year to ensure a good crop the next year. However, if you don’t mind re-buying strawberry plants each year, you can let them flower and fruit the first year.
Store-bought basil turns brown and dries up in a day or two, so it’s a great herb to grow at home. Basil plants do need a lot of sunlight, so put your pot out on the patio or in your sunniest window. Basil is fairly easy to sprout from seed, or you can buy a small plant from a garden store and pot it at home.
With sunlight, faithful watering, and a small time investment, you can be harvesting delicious, fresh, and very local food!