How to Grow Vegetables in an Apartment


Having a vegetable garden without a yard is a possibility, even if your apartment doesn't have a balcony or patio. Growing in containers allows you to place the plants where they will grow best and where it is convenient in your space. Most vegetables that do well outdoors have a variety well-suited for container growing. Providing the right conditions for the plants is possible in an apartment.

Step 1

Choose the space for your garden. Place it on a balcony or near a window that receives six to eight hours of sunlight a day. Take advantage of a single window by placing adjustable shelves in front of it. Place larger plants such as tomatoes on the bottom shelf, pole beans near the legs so they can use them as support, and smaller crops such as greens on the upper shelves.

Step 2

Set up a grow light system if you don't have a suitable window. Use a dual-light fixture equipped with a warm white and a cool white fluorescent tube. Choose a fixture with an adjustable height arm or chain to allow you to adjust the height as the plants grow.

Step 3

Choose your containers. Use planters or buckets of at least 2 gallons for larger plants and ½ to 1 gallon for smaller plants. Ensure they have drainage holes in the bottom or drill four to six holes per container using a ½-inch drill bit.

Step 4

Fill the containers with a quality potting mix. Create your own by combining one part compost, one part peat moss and one part coarse sand. Mix in a slow release balanced fertilizer with the soil following the application instructions on the label.

Step 5

Plant your transplants in the containers to the same depth they are at in their nursery pots, except for tomatoes, which are planted 2 inches deeper. Water the plants thoroughly after planting to push out any air pockets around the roots in the soil.

Step 6

Place grow lights, if using them, 3 to 5 inches above the top of the plants. Adjust them as the plants grow to maintain this distance. Leave the lights on for 12 hours a day, turning them off at night. A general rule is plants need twice as much artificial light as sunlight.

Step 7

Keep the soil moist but not soaking wet, watering as needed to maintain soil moisture. Replace fertilizer two months after planting by providing a liquid fertilizer every two weeks until harvest.

Tips and Warnings

  • Containers, especially if outside, dry out more quickly than garden beds. Check the soil daily for water needs. Put drip trays under the pots, especially inside, to catch the excess water that drains out of the pots.

Things You'll Need

  • Shelves
  • Grow lights
  • Adjustable light fixture
  • Containers
  • Drill
  • Peat moss
  • Compost
  • Sand
  • Fertilizer


  • Cornell Cooperative Extension:Growing Vegetables In Containers
Keywords: apartment gardening, container vegetables, grow vegetables indoors

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.