In an ideal world we would all have huge gardens in which to plant our favourite plants, flowers, and crops. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case though, especially for those living in the big cities where space is limited and a large percent of the population live in flats with no garden at all.
The good news is, you don’t actually need a garden to enjoy a spot of gardening. Fancy that. Gardening without a garden, who’d have thought it? It may surprise you to know that some of the UK’s favourite ingredients can be grown from containers such as potatoes, herbs like mint and rosemary, and even delicious strawberries. If growing your own crops isn’t your aim, you can still get a lot out of growing plants and flowers, bringing a bit of nature into your home.
Gardening is very therapeutic, and a great stress reliever. It is relatively inexpensive, and doesn’t have to take up too much of your time, so what are you waiting for? This article will tell you all about gardening without a garden, and hopefully start you off with your own balcony and windowsill growing projects.
Growing vegetables in containers
As we already mentioned, it is possible to grow vegetables in containers on your balcony, windowsill, rooftop, or anywhere that gets enough sunlight. The best time to grow crops in containers will depend on the thing you want to grow, but for the majority of them, the growing season will stretch from Spring to Autumn.
These vegetables and fruits can be grown in plant pots made of pretty much any material, just as long as they are large enough to provide enough nutrients and moisture to the roots of your crops. You should avoid planting in pots under 45cm wide and deep.
Some people prefer to grow vegetables in grow bags, and swear that they get better results from them when compared to plastic pots. They claim that air passes through the fabric of a grow bag and this leads to healthier plants.
Window boxes are an excellent way for people in flats to enjoy a bit of gardening. Planting some colourful flowers like pelargoniums will not only brighten the view from your window, but will make the outside of your home look more attractive too.
There is also a fairly large selection of herbs that you can grow in your window box. You could be cooking dinner with your very own, homegrown herb : rosemary, chives, or sage, to name but a few. You can even grow your own chilies in a window box if you’re more inclined towards a spot of spiciness.
Looking just as good indoors as they do outside, hanging baskets are an easy way to transform your home from sterile and flowerless, to something that feels more alive and fresh. Pretty much any common house plant such as spider plants grow well in hanging baskets, just remember to use peat free potting compost for best results.
You can have different types of plants growing in the same hanging basket, and some combinations look fantastic. If you choose to do this though, you’ll have to make sure that the plants that share the basket are ones that require similar water and light.
Tropical house plants
Some tropical plants like mother in law’s tongue can be quite hardy and grow well in pots inside the house. These wonderful looking plants are a very easy way to breathe new life into your home, and will thrive in the humid conditions in your bathroom.
Other houseplants that can give you a tropical feel are triangle ficus, dragon trees, and parlor palms. Some tropical plants need a lot of light and some humidity to flourish, so do your homework before you buy.
Going on up
If you have a small balcony or similar area, you can make the most of it by going vertical. Putting up shelves on which to sit your containers on will give you more space, and you can create some wonderful effects by mixing and matching flowers and plants at varying levels. You can even use an old stepladder. Make sure it is stable (securing it somehow would be best) and then you can use the rungs as shelves, or you could have climbing plants slowly take over it. These are just a couple of examples, but there are lots of ways you can use vertical space when the horizontal is limited.
Small things can make a difference
You don’t have to go big or go home when it comes to gardening without a garden, and even the smallest additions can help change the mood of your living space. When I was at university, my first year was spent in a dorm room that was very small and didn’t really give me many options when it came to having some greenery around me. However, I went out and bought a few small cactuses and popped them on my windowsill and it made the room feel so much better. At least for me anyway. Other plants like streptocarpus, and venus flytraps are excellent additions to windowsills, as are pelargoniums and pilea peperomioides.
If you’re willing to put in a bit more work when it comes to your gardening without a garden, you can even grow some spectacular looking orchids. When you buy an orchid it is likely to come in a plastic pot, but you should not keep it this way if you want it to be healthy. Orchids need good airflow around their roots, so obviously a plastic pot is not the best for them and can lead to root rot. They also need a little humidity and sunlight, but not too much direct, strong, sunlight. Watering orchids is done heavily, but then you must allow for a period of drying out before watering again. This process should be done alternatively for best results, and a healthy orchid plant.
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As you can see, there are actually quite a lot of options available to gardeners who don’t have access to a garden, and we only just scratched the surface here. Window boxes, hanging baskets, row bags, and containers can provide you with all you need to grow plants, flowers, and even crops in your own home. If you’re extremely busy and don’t have time to care and water for plants that often, you can still have cactus, peace lily, and other dry plants growing; and if you do have the time and the patience, why not have a go at growing orchids?
That’s all for now, we hope you enjoyed this article on gardening without a garden in the UK.