You can still enjoy a garden when you live in a bright and sunny Station A apartment! Large windows and spacious open floor plans practically invite houseplants while your private patio or balcony is the perfect spot to add some favorite outdoor greenery.
A surprising number of plants will grow in a container. Everything from flowers to herbs to peppers, tomatoes, and other vegetables are suitable for container growing. There are even ornamental Japanese maples and dwarf fruit trees that will thrive in a large enough container. Just imagine enjoying the delicious fragrance of citrus flowers wafting in from the patio as you garnish drinks with homegrown lemon or lime wedges!
The key to growing a container garden lies in choosing the right plant variety, pot or planter, and potting mix. For example, not every tomato variety is suitable for growing in the confines of a container. Indeterminate tomatoes are rampant growers that won’t stop growing both outwards and upwards until frost kills them. Determinate tomatoes are more restrained varieties that usually only grow about 3′ tall. Many are perfect for large containers and will produce plenty of juicy, ripe tomatoes rather than rampant foliage.
Choosing a large enough container is also essential for success. Make sure your containers have adequate drainage and use a soilless potting mix in order to keep your plants from drowning. Potting soil is okay for outdoor garden beds but it doesn’t drain well enough for containers. It might also carry soil-borne pathogens that can infest your plants.
Making Good Use of Your Space
A combination of railing planters, hanging baskets, windowsill planters, plant stands, and other display methods will allow you to enjoy your garden both indoors and out. Using unique planters like large seashells will add a touch of whimsy.
Planting a mixed container lets you grow a wider variety of plants in the same number of pots as if each pot held a single variety. Try planting basil around the base of your tomatoes. They’re naturals together! Since basil comes in a wide range of scents, flavors, colors, leaf shapes, and sizes you can have a very pretty and colorful garden from tomatoes and basils alone.
When planting a mixed container, make sure that all the plants have similar sun, watering, and fertilizing needs. If they don’t have similar requirements, some will probably thrive while others will fade away. They should also look good together, with a range of heights, leaf shapes and textures, and colors.
Keeping Your Plants Watered
If you have just a few pots, a watering can may be sufficient to keep them watered. However, if your pots are large or you have a lot of them, it might be worth investing in a drip-irrigation system along with an automatic timer. This setup lets you sit back and enjoy your container garden rather than constantly worrying about whether you’re under or over watering your plants. It also lets you take off on a long-anticipated vacation or camping trip without worrying about your garden while you’re away!
If you also have indoor plants, there are several ways to handle their watering needs. Do you have a neighbor or friend with a green thumb that you can ask to water your plants while you’re away? Make it easier for them to care for your plants by clustering plants with similar watering needs together and moving them out of direct sunlight.
You can also use a large, clear plastic bag to make a mini greenhouse. Lay the bag out on a waterproof floor out of direct sunlight. Line the bottom with a damp towel, set your well-watered pots on the towel, gather the top of the bag and blow air into it, and then seal it with a twist-tie or rubber band. The puffed up bag will hold the moisture the plant leaves give off, keeping the air inside the bag nice and humid. Any excess moisture will drip down onto the plants.
Set up a wick system for larger plants using cotton cord and dollar store buckets. Make wicks from the thick cotton upholstery cord sold at any craft or fabric store that sells upholstery fabric. Cut a piece long enough to reach from the bottom of the bucket, over the pot rim, and down 3″ into the soil. Fill each bucket with water and leave knowing that your plants have ‘straws’ to sip water as they need it while you’re gone.
Gardening Is Another Fabulous Amenity at Station A!
At Station A Apartments, we value our residents and work hard to provide a range of fantastic amenities for your enjoyment. Contact us for more information or to schedule a tour. We would love to show you everything we have to offer!