There have been quite a few images of Oprah holding an overflowing basket of freshly picked produce from her garden floating around Instagram lately. Seriously, look at all of these! And to say it’s #goals is the understatement of the year. But like me, you probably don’t have acres of land and — let’s be real — a team of gardeners to help you grow your own food. But there is something so satisfying about watching something you’ve planted and nourished grow into something you can eat! Which is why I wanted to find a few ways you can grow your own food, without needing a backyard to do it.
Even if you have a pretty tiny patio, you can still grow a decent amount of food. But, you may have to get a little creative with how you use your space! There are planters specifically designed to hang on fences or be propped up against walls. As long as you make sure your plants have enough room to expand in their pots, use healthy soil, and can provide them with the correct amount of sun and water, then you can grow most plants on your patio no matter what size it is.
However, the bigger the container, the better off you’ll be. Larger containers will allow your plants to develop stronger root systems and they retain water longer (which is a literal lifesaver for those weekends you’re out of town). Growing your food on a patio instead of in the ground actually has a few benefits. For one, you don’t have to worry about clearing out weeds or keeping an eye on invasive species. And you’ll have to worry less about small animals like squirrels or bugs eating your food before you can, which is good news! That means you can grow your plants chemical free.
Bring Light In
One of the major reasons it’s notoriously difficult to keep house plants alive is because of the lack of sunlight you get indoors. If your home doesn’t have a lot of windows that get sunlight everyday, your plants may struggle to thrive.
Luckily, there’s an easy way to let the light in! A grow light, like this one from Soltech Solutions, is small but functional. When this light is placed over a plant, it will help your plants get the sun they need. The bigger the plant, the bigger the light you’ll need to use.
You can use one of these lights to grow everything from herbs to leafy greens to fruit trees. The sky — or your roof — is the limit.
Keep it Simple
Why yes, it would be lovely to grow your own dragon fruit. You would save a pretty penny by growing exotic fruits yourself. But when you’re working with limited space and resources, simpler produce is better. Try something sturdy and low maintenance like potatoes. You can grow them in simple containers or bags filled with soil. You can even eat smaller, younger potatoes if you don’t want to wait for them to grow to their full size.
Radishes are equally easy to grow, and they grow quickly! In 25 days you’ll be able to harvest your radishes. All you need is a 5” deep tray full of well-draining soil. Then you cover them with some form of paper until they sprout. Once they do, you move them into the sun and then wait for them to grow!
And of course, herb gardens are compact enough to grow in a planter on the patio or in a small pot by the kitchen sink. Trader Joe’s always has great options available for reasonable prices, but so will your local farmers market or gardening center. This tiny herb garden starter kit from Urban Outfitters even comes with a light to make sure your herbs get all the light and warmth they need!
Have you heard of microgreens? You can frequently spot them at farmers markets and health food stores. Basically, microgreens are smaller versions of normal leafy greens, herbs, and vegetables. But, they pack a pretty big punch. Microgreens are tiny, but have a concentrated source of nutrients. They also grow really quickly, which is pretty satisfying. Try growing miniature versions of greens like lettuce, kale, or spinach. You can even grow tiny vegetables like radishes or beets. Tasty and cute is not a bad combo. All you need to grow microgreens is a shallow tray, some soil, and the seeds for your plant. This is a super helpful guide on growing your own microgreens. Step aside Whole Foods.