Mark Roemer image of a garden on a balcony.

Apartment Gardening for Beginners (Part 2)

In a previous blog, I, Mark Roemer, discussed with you where to grow your plants in your apartment. I also provided you with details on considerations that must be made in order to ensure that your soil is adequate, and other things to keep in mind when using a balcony.

On the back of that blog, we are going to discuss the types of things you can grow at your apartment. The plants that we will be choosing will directly benefit you in terms of ambiance as being able to use some of these plants for cooking.

Anything you can think of can be grown in a container sitting on your back patio or balcony. Well, a full-sized tree is probably out of the question. However, smaller versions of these trees do exist and are possible depending on the size of your stoop. I hope you enjoy browsing over the list I have prepared for you and decide on some delicious options to add to your next meal.

The Best Plants to Grow

To start, I am going to suggest something straightforward to care for and use in your cooking – herbs. There is a reason that people usually opt for this option when they are starting. The idea is that they don’t require a lot of attention. While it is true that you will have to make sure you provide the plants with a sufficient amount of water, that is pretty much it. Every now and then, you will go out to the garden and take enough for the meal you are cooking. Keep in mind, a lot of these plants will get rather large and bushy if they are not harvested regularly. Nothing inspires you to cook something with the herbs quite like a large overgrown plant staring you in the face.

Some of the top choices that even I have gone with in the past are thyme, mint, basil, chives, lavender, and parsley. Most of these choices seem reasonable. When it was first suggested to me to grow lavender, I was taken aback. I was initially unaware of the benefits of lavender. Simply put, you can grind up the plant and make it into a tea or use the spikes and leaves as a replacement for rosemary in any culinary dish.

The next thing that I suggest is salad greens. This choice is an excellent option for people with minimal time to garden. Additionally, they will grow almost anywhere. All you need to do is remember to give them plenty of water.

You may have heard that most green things that come from the garden are mostly water. Additionally, they go on to say that it takes more energy to digest the food than calories that are in them. Both of these are true statements. That is the reason that you need to make sure that you give them copious amounts of water. Make sure not to suffocate them if you are growing them in a container. If you are worried that you might overwater your plants, you can always make some holes in the bottom of the pot if none exists. That allows for the water to drain out if you provide the plant with too much water. If you don’t, it is much like if a person were to be submerged in water and not given a way to breathe – they drown.

Next on the list is a favorite of mine – tomatoes. There are several things you are going to want to keep in mind if you are in the market for tomatoes. First off, you need to know that tomato plants can be quite substantial. You will need to make sure that your patio can support this weight. Next, you are going to need rather large pots for the plants. The reason for the large plants is twofold. Number one, you are going to need to provide the plants with an adequate amount of space to grow their roots. Second, you will need to support the tomato plants as they grow taller. This means you will need to provide them with a support structure that will be placed in the pot as well. You cannot accomplish this task with a small container.

After those considerations have been made, you will be ready to grow your tomatoes. I feel that in the interest of full disclosure, I need to warn you that you will likely have more tomatoes than you will need in a single season. Make sure that you have a plan to can the leftovers at the end of the season. There are several canning sites that you can reference for tips on completing this task.

The last one that we will be discussing in this blog is Chile peppers. As more and more people are beginning to like a little heat in their food, these plants are becoming more and more popular. Another reason is that they do well in containers. If you are looking for something that can grow just about anywhere (indoors and outdoors) all year long, then you needn’t look any further than Chile peppers. By far, this plant is the best for people that don’t want to spend money on seeds every year. When you harvest a pepper, make sure that you save some of the seeds from deseeding the vegetable. Should you have one die or need some in the future, these seeds will be very beneficial to you. All you need to do is replant these seeds, and, in a few weeks, you will have the makings of your new garden.


I, Mark Roemer, have thoroughly enjoyed sharing this topic with you. I hope that you seriously consider starting a garden at your apartment. If you happen to have an apartment that does not have sufficient space for a garden on the patio or balcony, consider talking to your landlord and discussing the possibility of setting up a greenhouse for community use on the property. You would be surprised how many landlords want to use the activity to get the neighbors to meet each other.