While New York City is arguably one of the best places to live in the world, Big Apple dwellers do make some sacrifices to live in the city that never sleeps. For instance, you might yearn for a garden blooming with fresh veggies, spices, or colorful flowers. Aside from the obvious culinary advantages of gardens, studies have also proven the array of benefits of having plants in the home, including improved focus and better air quality. Nevertheless, you may have abandoned the idea as untenable in your small NYC apartment. But, believe it or not, a number of plants can grow in tight, indoor quarters with the following techniques.
Plant Lighting and Location
If you live in the city, it’s unlikely that your apartment receives the adequate hours of direct sunlight to grow veggies or herbs properly. Affordable grow lights are a godsend for apartment dwellers with green thumbs. You can find relatively unobtrusive grow lights that give ample light for about $50 in most cases. For maximum output, look for High-Intensity Discharge lights that can serve as a supplemental or sole light source for plants. HID grow lights are twice as efficient as fluorescent lights and can run on a standard household current with proper fixtures.
Because you’ll have supplemental light, you don’t need to place your apartment garden near a window. When you provide your own light source, you can place your garden anywhere that’s convenient. You might try a shelf, an end table, or even a closet — wherever you can find enough space. Remember that for optimal results, keep your grow light on for 18 hours or more daily. So, choose a place where this won’t disturb anyone’s sleep.
Begin With Seeds or Plants
If you want to grow plants that do well in apartment gardens, herbs are a smart choice and can add fresh, easy twists to any meal. Starting with seeds is fairly easy with culinary herbs, and you can buy starter packs with most of the staple herbs. When you master herbs, you can branch out to lettuce and tomatoes. When starting with seeds, a seed-starter kit can make the process infinitely easier. If you find starting with seeds too challenging, you can also always buy vegetable and plant starts at nurseries and green markets.
Think Outside the Planter
Getting creative with the containers you use for your indoor garden will help you save space and recycle discarded materials. For instance, you can plant an entire herb garden using old egg shells and an egg carton. Simply wash out the eggshells and fill them with soil and seeds in the carton. Likewise, you can resurrect your Easter decorations by using the smaller half of plastic Easter eggs as small planters.
Creativity is key to small-space gardening. If you can improvise with the materials and conditions you have in your apartment, you can start a garden that’ll enhance both the beauty and utility of your home. Your indoor garden can do anything from spicing up a weeknight meal to purifying your air.