Whether you have no outdoor space, a tiny balcony, a courtyard or even a small patch of grass, space doesn’t have to be a problem when growing your own kitchen herb garden.
From learning a new skill, connecting with nature and food, to understanding and appreciating the process of a garden to plate philosophy, there are endless wellness benefits when it comes to nurturing your green thumb.
With over 13% of Australian’s living in apartments or flats, we explore the best ways to grow edible plants and which ones are best for those living sky high.
Location, location, location: choosing a spot for a herb garden is one of the most important parts of the process when it comes to growing your own. Not only do the plants need a place where they can receive between six to eight hours of sunlight each day, but they need to be able to adapt to the different climates your apartment will experience over the seasons. Therefore, having a herb garden that can be moved around (i.e. a planter box or pots that can be moved from one room to another) will be beneficial in keeping a year-round yield.
Things your kitchen garden needs
Sun: As mentioned, most kitchen herbs need at least six hours of sun a day. Balconies and rooftops are your best options; alternatively, you can work with windowsills. If you’re in a space which only receives very few hours of light, choose plants that require less sun than others, for example leafy greens.
Soil: Since your apartment garden will probably mean growing your plants in pots, planters or containers, you cannot use ordinary garden soil. Soil will compact in pots, preventing water and air from flowing through. What is needed is a high quality, well-draining potting mix (which actually contains little to no soil).
Water: Plants in pots and containers usually need a lot more water than those in the ground. Growing in an apartment should mean you have a reliable water supply. Knowing how much water and when to water will depend on the plant itself, be sure to position plants that enjoy the same amount of sun and water together.
Exposure (e.g. humidity, wind and frost): When growing plants inside, it is best to offer some extra humidity during the warmer months. Spraying with a fine mist will help. If your planter box is on a windowsill and will receive outside exposure to elements such as wind, you need to beware of rough weather that can tear through leaves and overturn top-heavy pots. A simple way to combat this is by introducing a windbreak with another hardy and durable plant – like rosemary – which can be placed next to your more delicate plants to help protect them! Finally, if you live in areas that experience less sun and are naturally cooler in climate, select plants that are frost resistant.
Below we share some of the best plants to grow when living in smaller spaces and why:
can thrive in pots or containers. Just be sure to use a rich, organic potting soil and allow plenty of sunlight.
are one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors, as they do not require much light and are prolific in their production. Be sure to cut about one-third of growth off the top regularly to stimulate new growth.
is classified as an aggressive grower, in fact, spearmint and peppermint can grow like weeds so just be sure not to let it take over your other herb spaces, alternatively grow your mint in its own pot.
is a sun-loving herb, which also offers a beautiful fragrance for your home. If you have a balcony or deck, place it outside. If you only have a windowsill available, it’s probably best to go with the Greek oregano variety as they do better with less sun.
is a hardy, low-maintenance plant that can grow woody and requires regular pruning, taking up a lot of space. Its possibly better to put this herb in its own pot too!
technically doesn’t need to grow in soil, meaning this can be one of the easiest herbs to keep in the house. You can simply buy one from the grocery store or market, give the top a little trim, making sure the base is still intact and that there is a decent stem. Then place the base in a couple of inches of water. Before you know it, the stalk will produce roots and dozens of new shoots!