Going Green: How to Practice Organic Gardening

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The big movement in apartment living these days is going green, and organic gardening is just one more way to embark on a greener lifestyle. Contrary to what you might believe, you don’t have to have a home and a large amount of outdoor space to practice organic gardening. Here’s how you can practice organic gardening in your apartment.

Indoor Organic Gardening and Space

If your apartment receives adequate sunlight, you can have an organic garden—it’s as simple as that. Practically any vegetable can be grown in a container given the proper amount of sunlight. If you’re worried about space, don’t. As long as you acquire the proper size container for your vegetables and herbs (or simple flowers and plants if you don’t plan on eating anything from your garden), you don’t need a huge amount of gardening space. A few sizable containers or planters will do it.

Organic Gardening Basics

When you practice organic gardening, you’re keeping in mind what is best for the environment. Organic gardening is about using practices, techniques and supplies that are as natural as possible. It requires opting for timelier fixes to gardening problems. You can’t simply spray your tomato plant with pesticide to rid of bugs or throw store bought fertilizer on your plants to make them grow faster. You have to take time to use cleaner, and sometimes less effective, recourse like picking bugs off plants with your hands or adding nutrient-rich substances (compost, manure, leaves) to the soil by hand to make plants grow.

Starting Your Garden

Once you have adequately sized containers and know organic gardening basics, you can begin creating your garden. You can purchase organic potting soil at just about any gardening center. You can also purchase organic seeds for the types of plants you wish to grow. If you wish, you can opt to purchase organic plants that have already begun to grow instead. When you’re just starting your organic garden, the easiest choice is to begin with herbs. All you’ll need is a window box in your kitchen, preferably by the sink. You’ll want to keep an eye on the window box and trim back any leaves as the herbs grow (you don’t want them to become too large).

Planting organic tomatoes is a popular option for many indoor gardeners. Each tomato plant should be planted separately in a pot at least eight inches in diameter. The roots should be planted deeper than one inch below the soil line. You’ll need a rod stuck in each pot so you can tie the tomato plant as it grows. Water when the soil feels dry and place in a southern facing window.

Radishes are another great option for indoor organic gardening. Given their small size, they’re easy to manage. Figure out how many you wish to grow and obtain the appropriate container size. Make sure it has holes to drain excess water. Keep the soil moist and covered. Radishes are ready to be harvested in about a month.

Organic gardening indoors is a great way to gain access to fresh food year round—and also a great way to live a “greener” lifestyle.

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Rachael Weiner: I’m a communications professional for a non-profit, which financially necessitates my status as an apartment dweller. Constantly “on-the-go,” I’ve resided in five different apartments across the United States over the past five years. Roommate issues, budgeting, organizing and handling problem neighbors are my specialty.

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