Staring a garden is kind of simple; you just need the space. When living in an apartment, space is a commodity, and garden just doesn’t seem to fit with most space plans. I’m talking floor plans under 1000sq ft. However if you want to design some pretty unique ways to use space to create a garden here are some tips.

The first thing that you have to consider is that your are essentially going to only be growing plants using the container gardening principles. Which is a plus in many categories, however it will drain your utilities. Will talk about the cons first; the size of your garden will directly impact the amount of heat, and light your plants will require. Essentially, you will have to find a way to regulate your apartments’ environment, or create an ecosystem for your plants to prosper.

When starting this garden you could effectively regulate your apartment to ideal growing temperatures, and if you have window space you can provide enough sunlight. But if you do not want to don’t have a window space, and cannot regulate your temperature; I have some container gardening ideas for you.

Container Gardening Ideas for the Spatially Challenged

Do you remember in middle school when you created the ecosystem in a plastic container? Whether you do or not, we’re going to talk about designing one (a terrarium) of those using a fish tank, an end table, with some sort of static light system. I have to say that starting a garden like this requires some creativity. And you’re not only making a garden, your designing a fixture in your home. Since you are creating an ecosystem, it is something that is semi-permanent and will have a life cycle that will be at least 6-10 weeks. However starting a garden of this design, will let you have as many growing seasons as you desire.

Ideally you are building an ebb and flow system. So you will also need some extra equipment to make this happen.

Ebb and Flow Kit:

5 Gallon Water bottle: Painted Black

Acrylic or Glass Fish tank of any size.
30 gallons: 36” X 12” X 16”

garden timer that can be set for 15min increments.

Aquarium air pump

6 feet of airline tubing

“T” connector
5 inch airstone

18 inches of ½ in diameter Black irrigation tubing

120 gallon per hour submersible pond pump

Fill and drain fitting set with one extension

So this is how you assemble the ebb flow system.

Your end table or base is going to have to support your tank. So you’re going to need something that going to account for a 12” X 16” tank. I suggest building an apparatus, but a gutted bookshelf should work nicely. If you want to use an end table you, you will have to think about building a door to easily access your tank. No one said this container gardening ideas wouldn’t test your carpentry skills. Your base structure should be able to accommodate your 5-gallon bottle. You can think of placement horizontally or vertically.

You’re going to now cut two holes in the base of your fish tank. These are the entrance and return valves for your nutrient solution. You should place them about at least 10inches apart. Thinking about it like this you’re recreating the tides: you flood the tank, and then drain the tank. You will do the cycle at least 3 times a day, you’re plants should have about one hour’s worth of water.

I’m going take a pause right here. And send you over to our part II.