Any tips for starting a garden in my Orlando apartment?

Photo of Avery Place VillasWith vaulted ceilings, private entryway, private backyard and patio/balcony, Avery Place has everything you need to start an apartment garden.

Home gardens are a great way to cut back on grocery costs, escape from the digital world and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. Whether you're looking to top your pizza with homegrown basil or simply add some greenery to a drab apartment balcony,  there are certain tricks to nailing an apartment garden; but with good planning and goal setting, you'll be growing farm-fresh salads from your Orlando apartment in no time.

Function or Fashion

Before you go out and buy bags of dirt and seeds, think about your garden end-goals. Are you hoping to grow food to eat, or decorate a space? Are you going for indoor hanging plants or tomatoes in a trough? Once you've decided the type of garden you're working towards, choose your seeds. Keep your garden intentional and small at first. It's much easier to scale up than to realize you've started more than you can handle.

Pick a Space and a Pot

Different seeds require different amounts of sunlight. So once you've selected your plant of choice, it's time to decide where you'll be planting it. Balconies, windows and handrails are a few ideal spaces to grow. If you don't have access to any of these, get creative! Apartments with high ceilings are an opportunity to hang certain plants inside, or you can plant a few herbs in an old shoe organizer hung on the outside of a door and in wine boxes on your private entryway. Which brings us to choosing what to put your new plants in. Clay and plastic pots are both great options. Plastic is the more budget-friendly option and retains moisture better, but clay allows the roots to breathe. At the end of the day, just make sure the container fits well with the space you have for the plants and aligns with the plants' needs.

Tools

Make sure you have the right tools to maintain your plants. We've compiled a few essentials to make your life easier.  Feel free to reach out to the maintenance team at your apartment in Orlando and see if they have any of these tools on hand.

Gloves-every urban gardener should have a nice pair of synthetic, washable gloves.

Hand Trowel- this will help you plant seeds; Real Simple suggests choosing tools made of durable but lightweight ash or hickory

Watering can- these come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. We suggest choosing one with measure marks.

Hand rake- this will come in handy for cleaning up dead leaves and debris from around the base of your plants.

Herb drying rack- if you're gardening herbs, this is a great way to dry your herbs out after harvesting them.

Pruning scissors-these will come in handy when trimming and cutting back plants. Scissors will work for some jobs, but thicker or woodier branches will require a pruner.

Garden fork- this will help you loosen the soil to let it aerate.

Soil- organic with no added fertilizers is best.

Fertilizer- opt for organic if you can

So now what?

It's time to get to work! Following the instructions on your plant package, choose a pot large enough for the plant to grow into, fill with soil and sow your seeds. Use a system that works for you when setting a watering schedule. You may find it challenging to water all your Orlando apartment plants, but just a simple water bottle designated to daily watering will suffice. Now just sit back and watch your thumb go green.

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