Over the past fews years, my mom and I have built up an impressive vegetable and flower garden in our backyard. Being able to walk outside and have access to a fresh and gorgeous garden is a luxury that I have missed since being at university. The quaint, cozy flats around St Andrews are incredibly charming and homely, but only seem to fit a basil plant or two. I have crammed about four plants into my bedroom and sadly killed a couple of herbs, so I think it’s time to explore some tips for gardening in small spaces!
Most of us students will only have access to having plants in containers indoors, on balconies or patios, or on windowsills. That’s okay! Windowsills are an easy, low space option, especially for plants that are frequently harvested like herbs and lettuces. All that is required is enough sun- about six hours if possible.
Container gardens often make a great use of space; fit them anywhere- front steps, driveways, along the outside of the house, even inside! Any fruit, veggies, or herbs can be grown in a container pretty much. Things to note are water- containers dry out faster than the ground gardens, so you’ll have to water more frequently, and the size of the pot- the bigger the pot the less you’ll have to water, and be careful not to overcrowd the pots. Further, containers can easily be made out of things you would otherwise throw away, like milk cartons or egg cartons, and hanging baskets are really fun for balconies.
The last thing I’ll say about planting veggies in small spaces is to be considerate about how large things will grow! Plants like squash and cucumbers will go all over the place and need space to climb. If you are lacking on windows or space with light, there are a few veggies that can survive light shade, like lettuce, greens, and broccoli.
As for flowers, these have been much easier in my experience. I had a couple succulent type plants that lasted for ages without being watered, one even made it over winter break! These are low maintenance plants that look great in any room. I’ve had a couple other shade variety plants that have been great, and that I would recommend for students.
Eating and enjoying things you grow and watching the flower blossom that you have nurtured is incredibly rewarding, and I hope some of these tips will allow for more of these experiences as spring arrives and the seeds start budding!