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- Posted: Tue, 24 May 2011 09:10:34 +0000
This post will be linked to in the first page, but I wanted to go ahead and get a sort of Outline set up.
We have many regulars in this thread who live in
a. A dorm
b. An Apartment
who still show an interest in gardening. Therefore, this reserved post will include tips, hints, and advice from fellow space-restricted gardeners.
Information For Everyone
Pots and Planters: Your standard containers. They should drain at the bottom. Hanging Planters also come in handy for strawberries and smaller tomato varieties. You can get these anywhere, or even make them yourself!
Dishes: Many ceramic pots come with them, but you can get plastic dishes real cheap at Lowe's, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, etc. Place them under your pot so the water doesn't go to waste. They'll keep your soil moist.
Soil: There are several types. Some actually say they aren't meant for vegetables/fruits, so read labels carefully.
Compost and Mulch: See where your municipality takes yard waste. Do they bring it to a recycling center to get chipped/composted? If so, is the compost and mulch available to the county's residents? A lot of the time it is. This is FREE soil/mulch for you right here. It's great for amending tired soil or poor quality soil whether in a yard garden or in containers. Check your county's recycling program website and see if it's available.
Peat Pellets: Nifty little pellets. They expand when you soak them, and make for a nice, nourishing "mini greenhouse" for seeds. Most of the time, you can plant the entire pellet in the pot or ground when the seedling is big enough.
Cages and Trellises: Items made for plants that tend to get heavy with the vines. It gives them support and something to crawl on. It's highly suggested you cage your tomatoes and cucumbers, for example.
Zones: Keep in mind your zone. Accommodate your plants/growing season according to what Zone you live in to maximize your growing success. For example, I live in Zone 9a, a generally hot area with mild winters. I grow vegetables which are more tolerant to excessive heat and possible droughts.
Dorm & Apartment
It's understandable students want to liven up their dorm with a plant. Plants make people happy! Sadly, many dorms only offer one window with a little ledge and not much else. There are ways to manage, though!
Herbs: Cafeteria food a little bland? Spice up your meals by keeping a windowsill full of basil, mint, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, parsley, etc.
Tea: Catnip and Lemongrass can be steeped and made into some nice teas.
If you have a little more room to spare, keep reading below.
Many people nowadays live in an apartment. Many apartments have an outdoor patio or balcony, which can come in handy for a little container garden. If you're new to gardening, it's probably a good idea to label your pots.
Fruits/Vegetables that can grow well in a little patio-container setup:
Determinate Tomato Plants: Determinate tomatoes or "bush" tomatoes are short, compact plants that usually produce fruit at around the same time, and then die. On average, they grow about 4 feet high, give or take a few feet. Due to their size, they are ideal for containers. They may or may not need to be caged, but it's a good idea to do so, anyway.
Cherry and Grape Tomatoes: Most cherry tomatoes are of the Indeterminate variety, which means they sprawl out more and have longer vines. Indeterminate Tomato Plants can grow up to 9 feet tall or so and need to be caged or trellised. They also keep giving fruit until they are killed. For a cherry type, try hanging them upside down!
Strawberries: These are also popular to place in a container that hangs.
Peas: Delicious little peas such as Sugar Snap can easily grow in a container on your patio or windowsill. They seem to yield a lot, so if you're big on peas, you might want to check them out. Since peas have a mutualistic relationship with bacteria, it is important to supply them with the bacteria. Most potting soil you buy from the store are sterile or don't have the bacteria. So instead, mix a handful of outside soil into the mix when planting peas, or you can buy inoculate. But the first choice is cheaper.
Peppers: Bell Peppers always come in handy when snacking or cooking. For a little more zing, try a Jalapeno or Habanero. Peppers like dryer soil, so keep that in mind.
Cucumbers: Another plant that needs to be caged.
Zucchini: Beware. Zucchinis are the gift that will keep on giving.
Radishes: Only take about a month or two to grow, and they are fantastic in salads and soups. The bigger you let your radishes grow, the spicier they will get though. Pick 'em while they're still small.
This post will be constantly updated as more people submit their tips. <3
Contributors: Taki Okura, Oriole Lyric, Sai-kun