Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Victory gardening for renters

For the past couple of summers, I'd been raising cucumbers, herbs, peppers, and tomatoes on my fire escape. Last year's garden is pictured at right, early on in the season. A few weeks after I took this photo, though, the landlords called and asked me to move the plants, since the garden violated fire codes.

So this year, I'll be raising herbs and a few tomato plants on even more limited real estate, on a shelf inside the southwest-facing windows. This way, I'll only be blocking my fire escape from the inside, which is perfectly legal.

Although I expect the greenhouse effect of the windows will give me a longer growing season, the amount of space I have is considerably smaller. But I recently found a great blog devoted to gardening in small spaces: Eight Square Meters is all about maximizing the yield of food that the author can grow on his 8-square-meter apartment balcony in Dublin, Ireland. The latest post has handy pollination tips; here's some advice on maximizing the yield from potato plants in boxes, and here's a photo of his "greenhouse," which actually looks like one of those dust-covers you'd use in a wardrobe.

Good stuff! I'll post some photos of my own indoor garden as soon as I get all of the plants potted and situated.


Turboglacier said...


My yard gets zero sunlight, but I have a 500 sq ft flat roof... have been thinking of starting a container garden up there. Want to put some of your your plants up there? You can have as much space as you like. No pesky landlords. Then I could call it a community container garden! Downside: is only accessible by ladder, and I haven't yet figured out an easy way to get water up there.

Marya said...

I live two doors down from you. If you're interested, you could put your containers in our yard and kick us a few tomatoes here and there. :) Let me know. (You live in the blue building on the corner, right? I saw you coming out the other day. We met once at Landmarks.)