Apartment living isn’t exactly known as being a gardener’s paradise, but that doesn’t mean that those of us with green thumbs, or those of us that want to have green thumbs, can’t set up a real live garden of our very own. While the allure of lush rose bushes and sprawling tomato vines seems out of reach for most apartment dwellers, robust herb gardens are very much within the realm of possibility. Herbs not only take up little space, but a little goes a long way when cooking. Instead of handfuls of basil going to waste in those little plastic packages in the fridge, you can just snip off what you need for your next artisan Caprese salad, impressing your friends in the process.
- Gather together your materials – You can start buying planting and gardening gear at any time of the year, but don’t really want to plant up until you are certain the temperatures won’t get to the freezing again. We suggest examining your planting zone. As for other supplies, think about the containers you want to use. Perhaps one of those long planters that attach to the railing of a patio or balcony? It’s enticing to choose what is charming, but this is the time to choose what is most sensible, and what will work for space, and sunlight, that you have. Lastly, invest in some sort of potting soil and a decent garden spade
- The sunlight situation – Many apartments in today’s multifamily communities offer a patio or balcony. This is the great spot for your herb garden, as long as the light is right. If you have outdoor space that is in the shade all day, it’s probably not going to harvest the wanted outcomes. Most plants are good with 6 hours in the sun, many even less.
- Purchase your plants – We know there is something magical about starting plants from seeds, but we’ve never had much success. If you’re confident in your gardening ability, do it, but our advice would be to start with seedlings. You can purchase these anywhere from the local farmer’s market, nearest big box store and a local nursery. Save the labels that come in the plants! There are generally important recommendations on the label including planting depth and distance from other plants, watering instructions and sunlight conditions.
- Begin planting – You want to make sure that your plants are secure. Start by placing soil in the containers you select, leaving wells for the other plants. Make sure you leave enough space between each planet, as the roots will spread over the summer. Never grab your plant by the leaves, as you want to keep the roots intact. Grab your plant by the stems and slowly remove it from the pot in which you bought it. If the root ball is in one huge clump, loosen it with your hands a little, this will help the roots settle in the new soil. Fill the space around roots with soil and tap down gently. Water your plant, generously.
- Regularly trim and water – Do some research on how to pick your herbs. For example, cut rosemary by the stem, not the leaf. Where you cut rosemary, a new sprout will form, making the plant fuller as the season wears on. Even though you might not need the use of a herb right away, it’s good to keep the plants at a controllable size. There are several ways to preserve herbs that can last you not only through the season, but as the fall starts.