Tiny Apartment Garden, Pt II: Everything You Need

apartment balcony container garden

To complete the the tour of our little apartment balcony container garden (Part I on plant choices here), check out how we made our garden extra special! With such limited space, our container vegetables are doing double duty as decor on our balcony. Here’s how we upped both the attractiveness factor and efficiency, as well as everything we used to create our tiny apartment garden oasis!

1Aerogarden: Easiest Indoor Herb Garden + Seed Starting
2Easy Container Veggies: Varieties & Growing Tips
3Container Garden Care: Water & Fertilizer
4Efficient DIY: Mini Companion Container Garden
5Shopping List: What You Need Get Started

Up Your Efficiency: DIY Mini Companion Container Garden

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Container companion planting: add lettuces and herbs

Companion planting is the practice of growing different types of plants together to improve efficiency. The plants improve each other’s growing conditions, share space, and provide visual variety for nicer looking planters. In the last post, I talked about how lettuces are a must-have for an apartment container garden because they grow fast and small.

Lettuces only need about 2″ between plants to harvest baby greens, and they prefer a little shade for optimal growth. As the peppers and tomatoes grow taller, they provide much-appreciated shade to the lettuces. The lettuces, in turn, shade the soil which helps to keep it moist for the peppers and tomatoes. Each plant benefits from the other, and we get to harvest more from every container!

Thus lettuce is the perfect companion in your apartment container garden to improve efficiency. Lettuce grows well with both peppers and tomatoes in big 12″ pots; plant ~6 red leaf lettuce or arugula plants in each.

Pretty AND practical: Mini Garden in a Window Box

DIY mini companion container hanging on apartment balcony railing
L to R: red leaf lettuce, micro tom tomato, Gerbera daisy, micro tom tomato, arugula

Taking the mini companion containers one step further, we’ve filled our balcony railing with these companion-planted boxes. Hanging planter boxes from a railing or fence is an efficient way to optimize small apartment space. Our boxes are the very economical Ikea Sommarfest railing planter. Alternatively, use these railing brackets and a plastic window box.

We have 韭菜 (jiǔ cài) Chinese garlic chives and lettuces in some of our boxes. But the real star of our apartment balcony are these companion planter boxes. They feature a Gerbera daisy in the center for a bold pop of color (plus shade for the seedlings). We have micro tom tomatoes on either side, and red leaf and arugula lettuces to fill in the remaining space. They’re definitely a joyful patio addition!

For extra security, make sure you secure the window box or hooks to your railing with plastic zip ties — I like these releasable zip ties. To prevent root rot, pick planter boxes with drainage holes.

Mini herb container garden

Herbs would also be a great addition to your companion planter boxes. I would pick Thai basil, dwarf Greek or Genovese basil, dill, and chives. Note that mint is not a great companion because it tends to take over. Rosemary also doesn’t play well with most vegetables, but it grows well with other Mediterranean herbs like thyme, oregano, and sage. Since both rosemary and mint are otherwise great container plants, just plant them separately in 8″ pots.

Everything You Need

Small patio ambiance: furniture & lighting

A tiny apartment outdoor space can’t become a personal urban oasis if it doesn’t have comfortable patio furniture! We have a small, folding dining table and super comfortable stacking chairs (on sale for $10!). Here are some other promising options:

We also have our tiny outdoor kitchen cart, which sits right next to our patio furniture for frequent apartment balcony cookouts. For ambiance and evening use, we have plug-in and solar string lights. We really like these budget plug-in LED lights. Our Ikea solar-powered lights aren’t great, so I would buy this dual-charge version instead.

Apartment garden supplies: shopping list

Here’s everything you need to get started with gardening. In the interest of convenience and social distancing, I’ve tried to pick options that are available for delivery or in-store pickup

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