How can I grow food when I live in an apartment? Have you ever wanted to have a garden, but did not have the space for one?
Probably you spend a lot of time in your apartment, especially during the winter. You probably think it’s too dark and too small to grow your own food.
If that’s the case, I have some good news for you. Yes, you can grow your own food in an apartment.
You’ll just have to be smart about it and have the right information.
How You Can Grow Food Even In An Apartment
Watch my video below to see what you can do in a small space indoors. This is a fairly young garden in my kitchen in a 2 x 4 space using hydroponics.
I live in a small apartment without a balcony but I am able to use the space I have to grow vegetables indoors all year round.
I am always looking for ways to be more self-sufficient and growing my own vegetables helps me do that. My food is healthier and tastes better too.
I have been growing different types of vegetables in my apartment for years, using the space that I have. If you watched my video you know I prefer hydroponics.
So if you live in an apartment and want to grow your own food you can. I will show you some easy ways to do it.
Is It Possible To Grow Food In An Apartment?
Yes, you can grow fruits and vegetables indoors even in a small apartment. What food you grow will depend on how much space and light you have.
You won’t have enough natural light to grow vegetables in your apartment.
If you want to give this a go and be successful you will need to provide supplemental lighting.
Sorry but a windowsill is just not going to cut it.
Two Growing Systems For Apartments
There are two main growing systems used for indoor gardening. One is hydroponics and the other is a soil-based container garden system.
I prefer growing hydroponic fruits and vegetables. Hydroponics is more productive and generally uses less space.
It also means I don’t need to bring large amounts of soil into my apartment. Let’s face it dirt is dirty and it can harbor insects and diseases.
But first, let me clarify something for the absolute beginner. You can not use dirt from a garden inside. When I talk about soil it is a peat-based soil mix.
How You Can Grow Vegetables In An Apartment
You can grow vegetables in an apartment and I’ll tell you a little bit about how I do it.
If you watched my video you will see we have a tomato plant and you can see it’s flowering really heavy and there even are a few tomatoes on it.
I also have a bush cucumber and this plant has really big leaves and you can see it’s flowering and it’s also vining up.
I have a pepper plant that’s getting ready to flower too.
I also have some lettuce that I’ve been harvesting and I just started this tote of strawberry plants. I just set them so they’re just beginning to grow.
So as you can see from the video you can grow vegetables in an apartment and there are a bunch of different ways to do it.
The hydroponic system I am using in my video is called deep water culture or DWC for short.
In the video, you can see there are roots and there’s water and nutrients in the bucket.
So really all you need for that is a bucket, an air stone, some nutrients, and a pot to put your plant in. It’s pretty easy and you get really good results with it.
Another way you can grow in your apartment is just a container garden. Now that works fine. The only thing is you’re going to be hauling dirt into your apartment.
If you’re going to grow in a container I would really recommend growing in coco coir instead of a soil mix.
With coco, you can get the same size plant in a pot that’s half the size of one filled with soil.
It’s easier to work with than a potting mix in a lot of ways. It’s very absorbent and it holds a lot of air and roots love growing in it.
So overwatering is less of a problem in coco and it works really well. But you will still get a better yield from deep water culture.
But if you’re just starting out something like my lettuce growing in a 10-gallon tote is an easy way to start growing.
It’s also in DWC (deep water culture) but you can also try a method called the Kratky method where you have water but no airstone.
I don’t think it works quite as well because a lot of times what I’ve found is the plants run out of water before they’re done growing.
If you have an air stone in there you can add more water as you need to and that’s why I’m going with DWC and not Kratky lettuce.
The AeroGarden Is Perfect For Tight Spaces
If you’re really tight on space would really consider buying an AeroGarden. You can fit this hydroponic system anywhere even on a shelf or countertop.
You can’t grow a lot of food in it but you can grow herbs, you can grow lettuce, and you can grow tomatoes, and peppers in it too.
You’ll have to really prune them hard to keep them in check but it can be done. And they make larger models that can grow much more and bigger plants.
The nice thing about an AeroGarden is it comes with a built-in light and the smaller ones you could even fit on a shelf.
So if you’re really tight on space an AeroGarden is a good way to go. I have an AeroGarden Harvest myself.
Right now I’m waiting for some chili peppers and they’re starting to come up in this unit but there’s not that much to see right now.
I was growing herbs in it and it worked really well for me. Because it has the light already built in it’s pretty easy to use and I keep mine on a coffee table.
You Need A LED Grow Light To Grow Your Own Food
Let’s not beat around the bush. If you really want to grow food in an apartment you need a LED Growlight. Otherwise, you are wasting your time.
You do need a light if you’re gonna grow indoors and I have a light in my video that I use and recommend.
It’s a Spider Farmer SF2000 and it cost about 300 bucks. It’ll do a 2×4 area and it is a great starter light.
Some Other Alternatives
If you have a balcony that gets at least 6 hours of direct sunlight you can grow a container garden in it.
If you don’t and I am guessing chances are most of you live in an apartment without a balcony you might be thinking about growing by a window.
A window is not really going to work for you. For anything you want to grow in your apartment, you’re going to need an LED grow light.
There’s just no way around it. Vegetables normally grow outside in the full sun and they need sunlight.
Will they grow without a light? Yeah probably. They’ll get tall they’ll get leggy they won’t produce much of anything.
Lettuce does not need as much light as tomatoes, cucumbers or peppers do.
You might get away with that on a sunny windowsill but you can’t fit very many plants on a windowsill anyway. Get ready for disappointment though.
So hopefully I answered your question of can you grow vegetables in an apartment? Yes, you can but you will need to invest in a LED grow light.
Closing Thoughts On Growing Your Own Food
If you’re just starting out lettuce is the easiest crop to grow. Lettuce and greens like spinach or swiss chard or microgreens are the easiest and fastest crops to grow.
You can grow root crops in container gardens but not in hydroponics. But honestly, you want to use your space efficiently and crops like potatoes and carrots are pretty cheap.
I would be looking at growing things like tomatoes or peppers because you really can’t get a good tomato out of a supermarket.
They’re not allowed to ripen, picked green, and then they treat them with ethylene gas to make them turn a nice pretty red but they really don’t have much taste.
So I would concentrate on things that are better fresh than when you buy them in the store and tomatoes are one of those.
But just about anything you grow in your apartment is gonna taste better than the produce you get at your supermarket.
I really think if you’re just starting out I would start with lettuce and any other green that you might like whether it’s swiss chard or spinach or cilantro or something like that.
Why I Like The AeroGarden Especially For Beginners
You can grow all those things and also herbs grow really well, especially in the AeroGarden. So you can grow basil, thyme, parsley, mint, and lots of other stuff.
But the AeroGarden is quick and easy so if you’ve never grown anything before in your apartment that might be the best place to start because it’s almost guaranteed to be successful.
The AeroGarden is basically idiot-proof it’s got a built-in grow light and it has lights on the bottom that tells you when to add water and when to add fertilizer.
In a way, it’s very similar to my deep water culture system. I have the AeroGarden Harvest and it doesn’t have an air stone but some of the bigger models do.
So it really is kind of a compact deep water culture unit and they work really well.
So if you want to grow vegetables in your apartment I have lots of articles on my website about growing deep water culture vegetables. I have articles on my website about using an AeroGarden and container gardening too.
So if you want to start growing food in your apartment check out my website indoorvegetablegrower.com
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