6 Tips for Urban Gardeners with Limited Space

6 Tips for Urban Gardeners with Limited Space Expand options

Limited space and a minimalist lifestyle shouldn’t keep you from creating and reaping the benefits of a garden. And, there are many creative options for small space gardening.

soil in a garden trowel



Gardening does not require a full complement of farm tools. Take a few basic implements—some may be scrounged from your kitchen—and you’re ready to start.

Visit almost any horticulture sites and you’ll find that you only need something to dig with, a planting medium (soil), some sort of vessel and light. Fancy trowels, expensive lighting and designer vessels are unnecessary. Enjoy the benefits of gardening at any size from relaxation, fresh air, a feeling of accomplishment  to a bounty of fresh foods and herbs.


a seedling sprouting out of soil


As you know, all plants begin as seeds and the small stems with their first sets of leaves are called seedlings. You can use numerous ways to start seedlings. You can start seedlings in cut off soda bottles, in clean yogurt containers, tiny ceramic planters or inexpensive seed starter trays. Try starting in a small space—use a special soil made just for seed starting. You’ll find this product at any nursery, grocery store or place that seed packets are sold. But, follow the directions on the seed packets for guaranteed success.


Make sure that seedlings and mature plants have good lighting. Natural sunlight is the least expensive light source but if you are gardening in an apartment that has little to no sunlight there are alternatives to help your plants thrive. 

To use any natural light you have, place your plants on a moveable cart. You can move the cart to an area where you have a lamp. Then, change the bulbs in your lamp(s) to grow lights. Traditionally, grow lights were full-spectrum fluorescent tube bulbs but recent developments in plant lighting have made LED grow lights available. 

Use Any Available Space

Remember the three basics: good soil, light and water.  You can accommodate a nice array of herbs even a tiny windowsill. You can take advantage of your patio or porch in your growing season. So, remember that plants outside will need to be tended often. Wind, rain and outdoor temperature cannot be controlled. You must compensate by adjusting your watering schedule and cover plants if you live in a climate that has day-night temperature fluctuations.

Combine Gardening and Home Décor

a floor filled with hydroponic bean sprouts


Home gardeners are waking up to a trend called hydroponic gardening. This is a system of growing plants in a water-based, nutrient-rich solution. Here, the plants get support in rocks or clay and their roots grow directly into the water solution. 

You can buy complete hydroponic kits online or find directions to easily build a custom system that fits your space. Some of the more interesting hydroponic techniques incorporate live fish that provide many of the nutrients your plants will need. So, get creative by choosing designs that can be built as small end tables or coffee tables. 

Living in a small space in a small city, doesn’t preclude you from enjoying the many benefits of gardening. Now, start saving those yogurt containers for your new seedlings.


Sam is an author at ABODO, an online apartment marketplace that helps renters find apartments all across the country. ABODO reports on rent rates, the changing of real estate markets and trends within the real estate industry.

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