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How to start a small urban farm in your apartment

It’s time to clean up our act.

As Thailand gears up to go one step further to eliminate single-use plastics (7-Eleven and various supermarkets: we’re proud of you!), there’s not denying that 2019 was the year that really saw sustainability take the fore.

Yet whilst there seems to be no accessory hotter than a canvas bag to go shopping and a metal straw to sip a cocktail, we’re also loudly and proudly spotting many a sustainable practice in the realm of food. Many restaurants around Bangkok are looking into zero-waste initiatives, and many are finding more ways to source and use ingredients sustainably. And with these trends, urban farming too is beginning to create some buzz.

From micro-greens to herbs and fruits, having your own edible garden is a fantastic way to not only save money and bring some greenery into your home but also contribute to the growing sustainable movement.

It may seem daunting to get started on growing edibles in your apartment. Soil type, sunshine, and space are just some factors to consider before you start gardening. Inexperienced or first-time gardeners may give up after one failed attempt, but the key is to keep experimenting until you get it right. Hence, we put together a starter’s kit on how to grow edibles in your apartment. Read on and get schooled.

urban farming
(Image credit: Matt Montgomery on Unsplash)

Growing Herbs

Herbs are a great entryway to urban farming as they take up less space and require fairly little maintenance. Having an array in your apartment is akin to having a spice rack at your fingertips, one that you can use for cooking, making your own tea blends, or even for medicinal purposes. To start, grow some mint, coriander, parsley and chives. When grouping herbs, be aware that mints of any variety should always be planted in their own pot as they tend to choke out other plants.

urban farming
(Image credit: Neslihan Gunaydin on Unsplash)

Most herbs thrive in typical garden soil. When grouping herbs together, it is important to pay attention to how moist the soil should be. Herbs that thrive in wet moist soil include mint, parsley, cilantro, and basil, while drought-tolerant herbs like rosemary, sage, oregano, and thyme do well together. Adding a spoonful of crushed eggshells in the soil for drought-tolerant herbs will benefit them greatly as well.

urban farming
(Image credit: Dan Gold on Unsplash)

Growing Fruits

Growing fruit inside your apartment may not seem plausible, but many berries and small citrus fruits thrive in indoor environments. Containers and outdoor patios would be great environments for them to flourish as well.

The most important thing to take note of when farming your own citrus fruits is to make sure the plants get plenty of sunlight. In general, these fruits tend to grow best in well-drained soil with a sandy, loamy texture. If space is a concern, Meyer lemons, and dwarf varieties of mandarin or blood oranges are perfect for indoor gardens. Do note that they may not produce fruit in the first year, but the wait will be worth it.

urban farming
(Image credit: Han Lahandoe on Unsplash)

Berry bushes, on the other hand, prosper in soils heavy with organic matter with plenty of sunlight. Although berries eventually grow into dense patches, make sure they have enough room during the initial planting. Blackberries, raspberries, cranberries, and blueberries tend to spread out freely, so space will be an important factor to keep an eye on.

This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Singapore.

How to start a small urban farm in your apartment

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