How To Start an Edible Garden in The Apartment


How To Start an Edible Garden in The Apartment

If you live in an apartment, it might seem impossible to grow your own food. Think again! Have you seen my Edible Balcony? You don’t have to have any land, invest lots of money or have green thumb to be able to grow your own vegetables in your apartment. As long as you have a porch, a balcony or a window that gets some sunlight, you can start an edible garden with a variety of herbs and vegetables.

Here’s my 5 tips on how to start an edible garden in the apartment:

1. Read up. Here are some articles to get you started:

2. Learn from the masters.
There are plenty of free online information – websites, online forums and Youtube videos. Lots of people are willing to share their experiences. Join online forums (I joined My Nice Garden Chat and Container Gardening Alliance). Talk to people who have lovely gardens. Want practical experience? Attend growing workshops, learn to compost kitchen waste, help out your at someone’s garden. Volunteer at your local community garden. I’ve volunteered at Eat, Shoots & Roots in PJ.

How To Start an Edible Garden in The Apartment

Sending my tomato plants to the ‘babysister’

3. Choosing the Plants

What to plant will very much depends on the space you have and the amount of sunlight it gets. Choose a few favorites that would do well in your soil/sun conditions. The easiest method is to see what grows well around your area. If you are totally new to gardening, buy/ask for seedlings instead of trying to grow from seeds. Saves you a lot of time. There’s also a whole range of kitchen scraps that can regrow easily like mint, spring onion, thai basil. Start with hardy plants that is not so susceptible to pests like mint. My sweet basil (measly bugs attack) and rosemary (no idea what’s the cause) couldn’t make it.

4. What to plant in?
Don’t be too ambitious – plants hate being crowded and will be weak if they haven’t got enough space. Choose the deepest pots you can get, plants flourish in deep pots.  A frugal way to start is is using recycled items – water bottles or pallets with a little DIY.

How To Start an Edible Garden in The Apartment

Composting kitchen scraps increases quality of soil and living organisam

5. Give your plants lotsa LOVE!
Love them like your pets, find babysitter when you are away for the plants that needs lots of care like tomato (need lots of water). I enjoy talking to my plants when I water them every morning. Don’t laugh, it does make a difference 🙂 Make compost from kitchen scraps – it improves the soil with good organism. Feed plants with natural nutrients, epsom salt and coffee ground work wonders. I observe how they response when I make certain changes like placing under the sun or in the shade. Feel the soil with your hands to check if it is moist, overfeeding them with water can kill the plants. You will learn a lot with just paying a little more attention, and they will love you for it, just like how your pets or kids will too.

Growing an apartment garden can be a rewarding experience that produces a little bit of nature in your modern apartment. Start growing today and have some fresh food to add to your meals. If it doesn’t work the 1st time, try and try again. Good Luck!

* Check out my Edible Balcony to get some inspiration & guide on How to Grow Kale in the Tropics


  1. Hi! You’re article is really great – the most information one I found on growing kale in the tropics! I am in the Philippines and it could get really hot here. I just got some kale seeds and I can’t wait to plant them this weekend. I hope they grow just like how yours did!

  2. Hi Shannon, glad to have “bumped into” your website. We share the same interests …food and planting. Enjoyed reading your article 🙂

    My balcony is north-facing, so, it’s kind of hard to get direct sunlight. Planted carrot and tomatoes, they took ages to grow due to poor sunlight! Wonder how you managed to plant American cress? May I know where you got your seeds?

    I planted curly kale before. A friend in Auckland sent me the seeds. Where did you get yours from? If you don’t mind sharing the info. Planning to buy the seeds from here, if possible. Kale for smoothie is great.

    Keep writing and sharing your thoughts with us ya 😉 If you have time, do drop by my FB page and give it a like, will you? Take care. Cheers, Evelyn (KL)

    • Hi Evelyn, great to meet like minded people and glad you enjoyed my article. I bought the cress and kale seeds in Europe. I just sprout the cress seeds like any other seeds and they just grew. Tomatoes need indirect sunlight, so it’s best to grow plants that don’t require much sunlight like salad leaves, you will have higher success rate. All the best with your edible garden!

  3. Dear Shannon,

    Any idea where i can get Kale seed in Malaysia?

  4. Shannon, you are a girl after my own heart! I was just out planting tomatoes in my container garden on the deck off of the kitchen. I do have a yard, but prefer container gardening because I can control the water, positioning of the plants, and love having herbs and vegetables just steps away from the kitchen. I’m also a big advocate of regrowing kitchen scraps; leeks and scallions are two of my favorites. I did not know that I could regrow Thai basil, so I’m going to try that this year. Loved this (and your “Edible Balcony”) post!
    Pattie @ Olla-Podrida recently posted..Spinach Mushroom EnchiladasMy Profile

    • Pattie, I wish I have bigger space or yard to grow more plants but I’m also grateful with what I have for now. Totally with you about container garrdening is easier to reposition the plants. The sun direction changes throughout the year, so need to move the pots around. Thai Basil grows well with heat and sunlight, so perfect for the summer. I’ve got to try regrowing leeks, thanks for the tips!

  5. Hi Shannon! This is a very good write up and even people who have a garden should really read this too. I have been composting on and off and am starting to collect my vegetable peels and egg shells again. I was giggling when I saw your tomato plants at the back of your car going to the baby sitter 😀 That shows you really love your plants and good for you!
    Phong Hong recently posted..Masala Mutton – AFF Indian SubcontinentMy Profile

    • Thank you dear! Hope the article will inspire others to start 🙂 I really sayang my tomato plants because they give me lots of joy. sad when the last plant died.. going to replant again soon

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