Growing tomatoes in your apartment

Gardening’s all the rage now — even the Obamas have gotten in on the game. Growing your own food doesn’t just provide great-tasting produce and a sense of satisfaction, though: in a conversation in March, Ogden Publications publisher (and farmer) Bryan Welch noted that starting a garden may be the single best thing you can do to lighten your environmental impact… it’s likely even better than changing the light bulbs.

Gardening is challenging if you’re an urbanite. It’s not impossible, though… with a little creativity and elbow grease, even the smallest apartment dweller can enjoy fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, and herbs. Some ideas:

Do it upside down: Yep, those Topsy Turvy ads are annoying, but the concept is sound. If you don’t want to shell out $19.95, try out one of the numerous DIY approaches (I’m going to test out this version featuring reused plastic soda bottles).

Contain yourself: You can also grow many vegetables in pots, window boxes, and other more traditional containers.

Be a square: If you do have a little bit of yard space, Mel Bartholomew’s Square Foot Gardening methods shows you how to make the most of it.

Go guerrilla: If you’re feeling adventurous, why not plant some vegetables on land you don’t own? Of course, there may be green spaces available in your neighborhood — check with your city government or neighborhood association.

There’s a ton of information available online — check out these resources from Chelsea Green Publishing,, and Patti Moreno, the Garden Girl. If you’re looking for awe and inspiration, visit Path to Freedom.

Got tips and tricks for growing food in small spaces? Share them with us…

Image credit: ewen and donabel at Flickr under a Creative Commons license