With or without an allotment to keep a spring and summer garden going, the idea of moving from house to flat calls for some creative gardening solutions. Of course, not every perfect spring flower or vegetable will thrive in a small environment without space (and sun) to grow. But even in a small flat, it’s possible to have a bit of fun with the right gardening ideas. You’ll need to swing by the local gardening centre for a few plants and seeds, and perhaps take a look at MySmartBuy for any additional equipment – but once that’s done, you can turn your attention toward working miniature gardens into your limited space. Here are 5 tips on how to do so.
1. Use A Self-Watering Container
Self-watering containers are great for tight space (when you can’t really garden in the ground) because they simulate ordinary growing conditions for your plants. Basically, the idea is that a planting container sits within a “reservoir container,” which holds water. The arrangement allows for the soil in the planting container to soak up water from below, which is more natural than the ordinary method of watering houseplants by pouring water on top.
2. Garden On Window Sills
Perhaps the easiest way to work in a bit of gardening in a cramped flat is to hang plants off of the window sills. Granted, you can’t exactly put together a full vegetable garden this way, but you may be surprised at what you can do. One great suggestion for this sort of planting is to aim for growing herbs, seeing as a little goes a long way with these plants. Plus, think how fun it is to lean out your kitchen window and pluck fresh basil!
3. Garden Vertically
Hanging containers one above the other is a great way to consolidate garden space vertically. There are some pots and containers designed in this fashion, and some even improvise with cut up pieces of rain gutters! Whatever the case, a hanging vertical garden can give you more garden space than you ever thought you had.
4. Use Rooftops Or Decks
This one’s pretty straightforward. If you’re lucky enough to have access to your flat’s rooftop, or a small porch or deck, turn it into a garden space! You don’t need an expansive stretch of soil to get a few nice plants going, and porch space is ideal.
5. Try A Veggie Pot
Finally, if you have limited space but want a convenient vegetable garden, try a veggie pot! Basically, this is an entire vegetable garden in a single large pot or container. The fact is, many household vegetables don’t require a great deal of space, so a number can be grown effectively in close proximity. A tomato plant surrounded by herbs, for example, can work just fine in a single pot in a corner of your home that gets appropriate sun.
This is a guest post by Justin Dowling. Justin is a freelance writer who covers a variety of topics on gardening, nature preservation, and sustainability.
Thank you Justin for these wonderful ideas, which are so useful now that I’ve lost a garden in my house-to-apartment move.
We had some wild weather last winter, and there were nights I woke up listening to the howling winds and fearing that my allotment shed was going to end up in Kansas. Remarkably it stayed put – just. But it did lose some felt off the roof that then caved in, and it now leans distinctly to the left. It’s in a very sorry state as you can see:
So – time for a brand new shed. Luckily, as I am moving house soon, to a flat without a garden, I had a shed in need of relocating. It’s a lot bigger than the old shed, but I have been lucky enough to have my allotment extended this year, so there is plenty of room for it.
Here is the view from the shed to the end of the allotment – mine used to end where the compost bin was, but now extends to just before the gravel area where a new composting toilet has been installed (and a handy place for me to lean the Princess against, as you can see).
We moved my garden shed to the allotment the weekend before last – here it is in the final stages of erection (sorry to those with a dirty mind, but I cannot think of another way of saying that):
I haven’t removed the old shed - I’m quite tempted to leave it there till it falls down. It’s a nice reminder of how things evolve at the allotments: it was once my new shed, which I lovingly painted blue, must to the amusement of my neighbours who considered the colour ‘a bit psychedelic’. They are a traditional lot. I wonder if any of them are missing a set of teeth – look what I found after my plot had been rotovated:
Since the shed erection (ooh er) I’ve been busy planting. I’m a bit late, as always, but so far have planted onions (red and white), cauliflower, cabbages, leeks, purple sprouted broccoli, strawberries, and some salad. Next job, peas and broad beans. Photos will follow in my next update. What have you planted so far on your allotment or veg patch? I’d love to know, please leave me a comment below!Read More
Maybe I am stretching the concept of ‘handmade’ just a little bit too far here – but my contribution this week is a post about ice cubes!
On my allotment the annual herb borage self-seeds freely, and I let it do so, as the pretty blue flowers attract bees, and I like to use them to freeze in ice and add to summer drinks.
It does not involve any more than that – collecting the flower heads and placing one in each individual ice cube (or ice heart in this case) compartment, and filling up with water before freezing.
Making these borage-cubes always makes me happy and is a true indicator that summer has finally arrived. They are perfect in summer drinks like home-made lemonade, Pimms, or a good old Gin and Tonic (though the picture below shows sparkling water masquerading as a G&T, as I am on a course of anti-biotics at the moment so cannot indulge, boo!)
Do pop over to White Lily Green, the blog hosting this link up, to see more Handmade Thursday posts – just click on the button below:Read More
In true indefatigable fashion, Monty recently said in interview, ‘It will take more than a stroke to hold me back’, and testament to this is his not only his return to Gardener’s World, but also his new book, Great Gardens of Italy, with Derry Moore, and the up-coming accompanying BBC series of the same name.
I have been engrossed in the book for the past week. At first I was a little non-plussed – the photographs, by Derry Moore, are beautiful – but the gardens that they depict did not immediately grab me. Too much formality, geometry and topiary, though I did like the all-pervasive sense of faded grandeur. It was when I started reading that I was hooked.
Monty’s writes so engagingly and his passion for Italian gardens draws the reader in. He describes not just each garden, but also its surrounding locality and atmosphere, and really situates each garden fully in its social and cultural setting. More perhaps could have been done to situate them historically – my knowledge of Italian history from an art-historical perspective enriched my reading of the book, but I wished that there were more connections made by Monty himself, between Italian political and cultural history and the evolution of Italian garden design.
You can’t have everything I suppose, and what you do have is excellent. I look forward to watching the TV series, and seeing what I have read about brought further to life.* Then all I’ll need is a trip to Italy to see for myself!
Great Gardens of Italy, by Monty Don & Derry Moore is published Quadrille Press, RRP £25.
Thank you to Quadrille for sending me a review copy.
* The TV series will also make up for the lack of images of Monty Don in the book, only the photograph on the cover and a tiny one inside on the dustjacket flap I’m afraid ladies!