How many apartment garden or intend to?

Discussion in 'Country Singletree' started by Shrek, Apr 18, 2017.

  1. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Today while looking for a hand trowel to work one of my small garden plots I came across my original garden tool from when I first moved out on my own and found that although I was a bachelor living in a city apartment I still itched to do some gardening and yard work.

    As I looked at that old funnel and remembered that first year of planting a few tomato plants and jalapeno plants in bags of top soil that first year and how by the next season I had added more bags to tarp plant directly into soil bags for seasonal vegetables, I got to thinking I may use some of my worm castings in leaf bags to see how that old technique compares to my raised beds I use now around my house.

    Back then I remember getting strange looks as I searched garden centers for soil in dark bags for maximum heat collection and my neighbors watching me use my pocket knife to cut slits to plant my starts in, make a few overflow drain slits and using the funnel to water the roots.

    By the third year in that apartment I had soil bags and containers on my patio and strawberries in hanging baskets and climbing cucumbers on a salvaged clothes rack.

    I had so much packed on my patio there was barely room for my two patio chairs and plastic end table where I relaxed after work enjoying a beer and surveying my city apartment garden for pest or produce picking.

    Who else apartment gardens? What is the best ways you have found to make it work?
     
  2. MoBookworm1957

    MoBookworm1957 Well-Known Member

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    I do now. Container gardening, wash tubs,raised beds, whiskey barrels is how I garden now. Wash tubs hold lettuce,radishes,carrots, Coal Bucket has Hen and chickens,rose moss. Raised beds, has tomatoes with blooms,peas,green beans, potatoes are up,squash,cucumbers. Whiskey barrels has blueberry bushes, blackberries,raspberries on homemade trellises.Thinking about getting stock tank for draw fruit trees,peaches,pears,cherry,apricot,plums.
     
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  3. Belfrybat

    Belfrybat Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I garden in an apartment. Thankfully the management here is relaxed enough, so several of us grow vegetables. This is last year's attempt -- the pic is taken early in the season, but I ended up with assorted herbs, Egyptian onions, squash, tomatoes, peppers, string beans, 21 peas, and greens. Some of the plants are not in the picture off the right. Over this past winter I've grown kale, lettuce, and Swiss chard. This year I've extended past the patio on the right to plant okra as well as all the above. The area I live in is very windy so I didn't get a good tomato or pepper harvest. Hope for better this year.
    Garden June 2016.jpg
     
  4. alida

    alida Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have for 10 years now. I live in a high rise condo in a large city and my balcony is 5' x 7.5'. I also face north and a bit west which adds its own challenges. The upside is that my balcony protrudes on three sides and the balcony sides are clear. Also, I don't have a balcony overhanging me so when the sun is coming straight down I get it all, no shade so there is a partial greenhouse atmosphere. Everything I grow is in planters.

    Right now I'm enjoying chives that came back from last year, but I'll have to wait until early May before planting any seeds. When that happens I'll plant radishes and kale first as they come up fast. In another couple weeks I'll plant 1-2 green beans and 3 weeks later I'll plant 2 more. In among those plants I'll sprinkle some leaf lettuces which I'll pick very young, before the beans shade them out. When the radishes are nearly done I start planting other greens and/or spring onions. I grow enough oregano, rosemary, sage, basil and thyme in pots to eat from mid June to late October, with enough to dry for the winter.
    And then there are tomatos. Larger ones don't do well on my balcony but cherry types do very well, and plum varieties will produce too. I usually plant 2 cherry, and one "other", with tomato cages tethered to the balcony railings. This gives me a serving or two a day of tomato for nearly 2 months. I'm thinking of planting one potato this year, just because.

    I don't do this to save money. I do this for the sheer pleasure of stepping out on my 14th floor balcony in the evening to pick a handful of green beans, or a double handful of lettuces or greens to eat that evening. Of course, there is absolutely nothing in the world that tastes as good as a fresh, fully ripe and warm from the sun tomato that you've just picked five minutes earlier.

    As an aside, my neighbours on either side can see my balcony. After 3-4 years one of them asked me about my experiences and started his own balcony garden, including things like horseradish and carrots along with tomatos,celery and radiccio (sp). A couple years later the guy on the other side, yep, you guessed it, put out planters and soon he had tomatos lined up on the balcony. Now on a summer evening we've been known to compare notes on our various successes.

    I looked into community garden allotments. The waiting lists are long, the gardens a little too far away for someone without a car, and sadly, there is some 2 legged theft too, in addition to the racoons and rabbits that consider those garden a buffet. I'll stick to my balcony.
     
  5. MoBookworm1957

    MoBookworm1957 Well-Known Member

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    I garden because it gives me something to do.
    I eat fresh pretty much all year.
    My doctor says it's great exercise(have to have doctor excuse to garden)
    So far the only herbs that has come back is that dang mint. Everybody in the complex
    has mint.Dumb me took out of flower pot. So everybody has Spearmint, Peppermint, Chocolate mint.
    Thinking about putting Mints in bare spot where nothing grows but English Ivy and maybe mint.
    Boy we need some rain. Watering again tonight.
     
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  6. alida

    alida Well-Known Member Supporter

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    It would be enjoyable to be able to eat something from a garden nearly all year round. I find it very satisfying to see what I planted come up, and grow.
    That mint, it does grow everywhere. Friends of mine planted lemon balm and spearmint in the ground too, and eventually ended up giving bags full of the herb to anyone who came by their house. They did hope that our colder winters would kill some of it off but nope that stuff was up early the next year and the next... The scent in the garden from those herbs plus the other dozen or so they grew was such a pleasure to smell when we'd walk around. There was just too much of it though and once it choked out their asparagus bed they took action to decimate it.

    We're having a wet spring here, so I'm still drying the pots out. Two weeks ago some of the soil was still frozen solid. By July I'll be watering daily.
     
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  7. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    One of my favorite apartment garden crops was the wash tub okra I grew to pickle to enjoy snacking on during our winter poker nights. Two #3 wash tubs of okra could yield me about 3 cases of water bathed pint jars of young okra.
     
  8. alida

    alida Well-Known Member Supporter

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    sounds like okra is as prolific as zucchini! If I had a little more space I'd try for enough green beans to make dilled green bean pickles which is a pickle I heard about for the first time while browsing through some of the HT websites.
     
  9. Belfrybat

    Belfrybat Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I never throught about trying okra in containers -- great idea. Unfortunately the winds here are so strong in the spring, I don't think I could protect them before they got established. I'm trying okra in the ground this year in front of the building hoping if the winds push it over it will end up resting against the wall. We'll see....
     
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  10. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Thing I noticed the about okra was when planted in the tubs if winds picked up being in a container patch, the stalks supported each other as I harvested the young pods to can and later let the older pods go to seed to use as seed or add as okra peas to my vegetable stores.

    Even after moving here to where I have ground to garden, I still plant my okra in circular plots stagger planted with about 6 inches between plants so I can selectively bend each stalk down a bit to cut pods off the 7 to 9 foot stalks without breaking them.

    The stalk height is also why I discovered to use okra peas for soup additive as near the end of the season not wanting to break stalks to cut pods, the last blooming I would let grow to large seed pods and after harvesting the seed peas I would run the cane hard remains through my blender to add to my worm bin powdered feed additive.

    Another crop I found worked well in wash tub type containers was pencil cob corn as it thrives being planted close as corn is a grass crop. As I cut my corn from the outside in, I would shock tie the corn stalks to use as Halloween decorations around the door and front window of my apartment before cutting them up and blending them into powder for my worm bins also.
     
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  11. HoofPick

    HoofPick Well-Known Member

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    This will be my 3rd year gardening on our apartment balcony. Everything is in containers and it's been one big experiment. We face Northeast so we get some morning sun, at most 6 hours. So far herbs have done really well with our long growing season. Last year I got over 2.5 pounds of parsley from my planters! I try to dry as much of the herbs as possible. It's not a lot but it keeps me entertained and is giving me practice.

    ImageUploadedByHomesteading Today1495593738.916599.jpg

    Bay tree
    ImageUploadedByHomesteading Today1495593750.697344.jpg
     
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  12. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    Hoof Pick,
    Your garden looks a lot like my last apartment did. Matter of fact I still have my 3 foot window boxes I used back then and still use them sometimes.

    Nice thing about those 3 foot boxes is that they can support 3 pea or bean bushes each,
     
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  13. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member

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    I have green onions on my deck because I do not want to walk all the way to the garden when I want to add a bit of bite to my salad or my sandwich.

    Planting them was easy: I bought 3 bunches at the grocery store and I used some and stuck some in a pot of soil. One of the onions is trying to bloom, which is nice: I would enjoy a perennial pot of onions!
     
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  14. COSunflower

    COSunflower Country Girl Supporter

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    I don't have an apt. but I do have a nice deck on one side of my mobile that I used for a small garden. I plant tomatoes, beans, peas, onions, zucchini, potatoes, garlic, peppers...all sorts of stuff in pots. I haven't been able to garden in my "regular" garden on the other side of the house for the last 3 years. I hope to get back out there this year in some capacity though. :)
     
  15. CajunSunshine

    CajunSunshine Joie de vivre!

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    Some crops I purposely garden in containers so that rabbits don't steal my lettuce and other yummy things. Those near-gallon sized Ozarka water bottles are quite sturdy and perfectly suited for lettuce, swiss chard, carrots, etc. My rabbit-proof garden is growing in tall wire baker's racks outside my kitchen door. I also have leeks, onions, celery, herbs and other culinary goodies growing there for convenience.

    The containers are positioned in such a way that the water that drains from the topmost containers drip down to the "downstairs neighbors." The very bottom rack is my mini compost pile and worm bed (in a laundry basket lined with shade cloth).

    I never need to go to the bait shop or dig in the yard for fish bait! I side-dress my container-grown plants with rich compost during the growing season. We're all happy. Except for the worms when I take them fishing.

    Just for the fun of it, I grew potatoes in pillowcases. Filled them about a quarter-full of good soil and planted the potatoes. As they grew, I "hilled" them in the normal manner, rolling up the pillow case as needed. I filled the top third of the pillowcase with hay and positioned the pillowcases close together to help keep the soil cool and to prevent too much moisture from evaporating. Harvest time was so easy! This year, I will plant sweet potatoes in pillowcases.



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    Last edited: May 26, 2017
  16. COSunflower

    COSunflower Country Girl Supporter

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    Cajun! What a great idea about the pillow cases!!! I have a bunch of old ones that I was going to toss but think I'll plant some potatoes in them! I'm going to set each one in a little tub (I have a bunch that I use on the deck) to help keep the water in them from evaporating too much. Thanks for the idea!!!
     
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  17. CajunSunshine

    CajunSunshine Joie de vivre!

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    I got most of my pillow cases from the thrift store at 25 cents each. The super thin ones tear easily after several weeks of soil, moisture, and sun exposure. So be careful if you need to move them around. The thicker pillowcases with higher thread counts last longer. Burlap sacks lined with pillowcases last longest and can be reused for a few years. Without the lining, maybe one or two years at best.


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  18. MoBookworm1957

    MoBookworm1957 Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to try this too. Thanks for the information.
     
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  19. MoBookworm1957

    MoBookworm1957 Well-Known Member

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    Peas are up about a foot tall and got pods on them about 4 inches long, though no peas in pods yet.
    Green bean 1 plant anyway has blossoms on it. The other green beans are just sprouting good.
    Have picked several small salads of kale, spinach and lettuce so far.
     
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  20. FarmboyBill

    FarmboyBill Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I was at my boys yesterday. DDIL had a bunch of stuff on her porch waiting for dry weather and the right sign. I said to her that she had more garden on her porch than in her garden lol
     
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