Advice for avid plant growers who don't have access to a garden?
A resounding “yes!"
We live in an apartment that doesn’t have adequate or plant-able garden space, so we’ve had to make do for years with DIY solutions. Still, there are plenty of options for people with limited or nonexistent gardening space, like:
Window and/or Rooftop Gardens: They’ll probably give you the most space. We’re lucky enough to have an awkward little 1900s roof space that 4 of our windows face out onto, so it provides us with a lot of wiggle room to grow in regular window boxes and even under-the-bed storage plastic totes. I wouldn’t recommend growing anything that needs deep roots (like small trees, tomatoes or some bushes) but as long as you have a bit of sunlight, you can usually grow a myriad of plants.
Things we’ve planted in window gardens include: Strawberries, wormwood, parsley, kale, cabbage, miniature roses, marigolds, succulents, peppers, rosemary, thyme and even a very sturdy boxwood bush.
Indoor Pots: If you have sunny spots and critters that don’t bother plants, this is ideal for year-round. While you’re limited in the size of plant you can grow, you can also have miniature plants or plant cuttings that eventually move to bigger planters (indoors or out).
Things we’ve planted in indoor pots include: Tomatoes, various vines, succulents, herbs, flowering shrubs and even neglected garlic.
Terrariums: I’ve done a whole tutorial on Cheap Hanging Mini Terrariums, which I’ve found that succulents and vining plants usually do best in. You can also make terrariums out of fishbowls, apothecary’s jars (as pictured below) and if you’re very ambitious, even a glass-front liquor cabinet that you’ve sealed to be waterproof. They’re low-maintenance as far as planters go.
Kevin’s friend Ana is a Thai chef, and she grows her own peppers in
pots for the sauce she makes. When she found out that Kevin’s new wife
was a gardener, she brought me one dried pepper. I split it open and
started the seeds, since you’re supposed to start peppers and tomatoes
indoors and planted them out, and they did terribly and I was convinced
I’d killed them all.
I don’t mind killing plants for the most part–gardeners slaughter
plants right and left, it’s part of the process–but these were special.
She’d brought them from Thailand decades ago, and you can’t exactly go
out to the nursery and buy a beloved variety given as a gift to an old
friend’s wife. So I was sad. I also hadn’t started any other peppers
this year, because I didn’t want them to cross-pollinate.
And then Kevin looked in exactly the right spot and there it was. One
of the ones I’d planted out and which had turned to a tiny, dying
nubbin, and I had given up. But I hadn’t planted anything else in that
planter, in case the planter was the problem, and apparently it pulled
through and has been quietly growing all this time.
Kevin ate one and turned colors and assured me that yes, it was one
of the Thai peppers. If I dry all these, I might get enough seeds to
grow them with slightly less panic next year.