Part of the appeal of apartment gardening to me was all the pretty accessories. Copper clipping shears on top of kraft paper with carefully chosen watering cans as cozy backdrops. While I still love those things, I’ve learned that plants do. not. care. They will grow much better if you pay more attention to the soil than what your putting the soil in (I feel a life lesson in here).
So, what do you need to start your apartment gardening dreams? Let’s start with the basics and build from there. You’ll need:
Did you know there are more types of soil and soil mixes than Jeni’s ice cream flavors? You don’t have to be paralyzed by information overload though. Because this series is focusing on apartment herb gardening, you can use normal potting soil for most indoor, potted herbs. Some of the Mediterranean herbs, like Rosemary & Sage, will need sandier soil. I like using Herb Gardening’s articles to learn soil requirements.
Do not swap out for garden soil or with dirt from outside! Potting soil is much lighter and mixed to promote water control in potted plants. This is especially important to prevent root rot down the line. Using any old dirt from outside can introduce diseases that will make quick work out of your baby transplants or seeds.
For my first lemon balm I tried being creative and using a glass bowl as a planter. Lemon balm needs to be kept moist and the glass element rounded out my planting shelf. Well, moist doesn’t mean wet, and wet roots does mean dead plant. I learned that any planter without drainage holes is not suited for healthy plant growth. Even that mid-century modern planter on sale from West Elm that’s been in your cart for months. It won’t look as cute with a dead plant anyways.
What should you be using? Look for ones with good drainage that are deep enough for root growth. Terracotta is an exceptionally popular choice because the clay breathes and helps with moisture control. The minimum size you should get for starter plants is one you can comfortably fit the starter in with extra soil on all sides. If you go with pots, make sure to get the draining dishes for underneath to protect wherever you set up your garden from water.
I didn’t forget this is an apartment gardening series! Maybe you live in a carpeted studio with no vacuum or a 6th story flat with no access to an outdoor space. Cardboard will be your friend. Use a shallow, cardboard box or flat sheet as a gardening work space to easily trash extra dirt all at once, no sweeping required!
Another easily overlooked tool that helps tremendously with indoor gardening are towels. Use them to carry plant babies to and from the sink for a deep watering and as a cute alternative to drainage dishes. For my plants that don’t need a lot of water, I like using the striped towel to add some color and texture to the plant shelf.
For deep waterings, you’ll most likely water in your sink to prevent water overflow around the house. Instead of a watering can, I use a spray bottle for dry day mistings. I’ve found that overwatering is very easy with big watering cans, and you can’t directly get to the base soil. Most edible plants & succulents really don’t like their leaves getting wet.
Last but not least! A log isn’t really a necessity, but it’s still helpful. Each plant comes with their own water, soil, & lighting needs, and growing more than a few babies can be hard to keep track of. Right now I use a small journal, but I saw Steph’s (from Make & Tell) outdoor garden planner and was inspired to start creating a printable one for indoor herb growing. Hope to have that up by next week, so keep coming back!
Hope you got all the dirt you need to get your own beginner gardening tools. Got any questions/comments? Leave them below! There’s still a lot I’m learning and I’d love to hear from you guys too. See you next week!
Hey everyone! That hiatus took a bit longer than expected. New laptop all set up, completely moved into the new place, and settled in at the new job. Phew! Now it’s solidly into summer and I can dive right into the series I’ve been most excited about bringing you guys: Apartment Gardening.
I’m sure you’ve seen all the gorgeous windowsill setups, modern plant stand diy’s, and adorable pots all over Pinterest. And when there’s so many, it gives you a sense of ‘If everyone can, I can’ right? Well, turns out gardening, especially indoors, is not as easy as picking out swoon worthy planters & popping in any plant. Some poor plants *might* have been sacrificed to the learning curves of this series.
Let’s all learn from my mistakes shall we? I’ll be dishing The Dirt on what I’ve learned and walk you through setting up a real, functional, indoor garden.
What’s to come?:
Find out what tools you really need
How to choosing the right pot
Harvest, Prune, & Propagate
And we won’t just leaf it there, we’ll through in some diy’s and bring the herbs into the kitchen for cocktails, teas, butters & salts! So put down some roots and get cozy. Lots more to come!
Remember that Cara Cara syrup recipe from before the laptop incident? Well, this cocktail has been sitting in the archives waiting for editing and it’s finally here! This Citrus Mint Smash just edged out Mojitos in my rankings of ‘most refreshing drinks’.
Citrus and mint are truly the flavors of summer. A splash of gin really makes it a party. By using the flavored Cara Cara syrup, we can cut down the ingredient list and steps for this smash. Easy, refreshing, & beautiful.
Citrus Mint Smash | makes 1
2 oz. Cara Cara syrup
2 oz. dry Gin
Gently ‘spank’ the mint leaves to wake up their flavor, then muddle with the syrup. Add ice, the muddled syrup, & gin to your cocktail shaker. With your best bartending skills, shake it like a Polaroid picture until cold.
Pour the cocktail over ice and top off with club soda and an orange garnish. The fizz creates a really beautiful gradient.
Cocktail Making Tips + Tricks
When muddling, start lightly. If the herbs tear they become bitter.
To chill cocktails without watering them down, add as much ice as possible to the cocktail shaker. This way you’ll increase how much ice surface area the cocktail touches with less shakes.