The Top 10 Plants to Grow When Homesteading in an Apartment: Easy to Grow, Nutritious, and Delicious

Even if you don’t have a big patch of land, you can still practice homesteading skills and grow your own food in an apartment. Homesteading in an apartment can be a great way to get started and many people are able to grow a significant amount of food practicing urban homesteading. In this article we explore how to get started growing food in an apartment and the 10 best plants for urban homesteading success.

Over the years we’ve grown our own food in our small home without a yard, in a 2 acres property with clay rich and wet soil and now on our 5 acres homestead in New Hampshire. We’ve grown food in raised beds, traditional rows, pots on our patio, and inside on our counter. After years of experience these are the 10 best plants we recommend when homesteading in an apartment.

SEE MORE ON APARTMENT HOMESTEADING FOR BEGINNERS.

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Welcome to the Backyard Farming Connection!  My name is Gretchen and together with my family, I’ve been practicing homesteading and backyard farming for the last 15 years.  This site was created over a decade ago to follow along as we learn and grow from our own real experiences growing food, raising animals, promoting sustainability and relearning homestead skills.  Everything you find on this site we have extensively researched and practiced ourselves.  You can read more about our homesteading journey on our about page.

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Things to Consider When Growing Plants and Homesteading in an Apartment

Grow Food You Like to Eat

This is really my top advice no matter where you are growing your own food. Choose food you like to eat. There is no point in growing food you don’t enjoy and the joy of growing your own food will be enhanced when you like the food you are growing.

Grow High Producing Food

Choose plants for your apartment that produce a lot of food. This includes things like tomatoes, lettuce, and peppers when your homesteading in apartment or home. If you are growing in a small space, you want to make sure you are getting food from your plants.

Grow Food Plants that Stay Small

Going along with choosing plants that produce a lot of food, you should also choose plants that stay relatively small. Plants like pumpkins and watermelon have sprawling vines and would quickly overwhelm a small space. Compact plants like herbs, strawberries and bush beans all make good choices. It’s also worth while to pick different varieties of the same type of food as some varieties are smaller.

Top 10 Plants When Homesteading in an Apartment

Herbs: Many herbs like basil, parsley, chives, mint, and thyme can be grown indoors in small pots and add fresh flavor to your meals. Herbs are generally the easiest and most rewarding plants to grow when you are homesteading in an apartment. Many herbs require less light than some of the other plants of this list, and you can harvest small amounts and use the herbs for long periods of time. Even when we grow large amounts of food outside, we always keep smaller herbs growing on our windowsill or patio.

Microgreens: These are young greens, harvested just after the cotyledon leaves have developed, that are high in nutrients and easy to grow in small spaces. Since you harvest them when they are very young, you can continuously start a new crop and microgreens only need about 4 hours of sunlight a day.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes are one crop that can grow well in an apartment only if you choose the correct variety of the plant. Cherry tomatoes and other small tomato varieties can be grown in pots on a windowsill or balcony, and provide a good yield in a small space. Other tomato varieties become large and sprawling and should only be grown if you have a large enough balcony.

Peppers: Hot peppers and sweet peppers can both be grown indoors in pots, and provide a flavorful addition to your cooking. Peppers are also beautiful plants with bring colored vegetables that can make a splashy display in a small space.

Radishes: These root vegetables grow quickly and can be grown in small containers, making them ideal for apartment homesteading. Another similar vegetable – beets, also make a good choice although they don’t grow quite as fast as radishes. You can grow these plants in a windowsill or in a small pot on a patio.

Salad Greens: One of my other favorite plants to grow inside is salad greens. Varieties like lettuce, arugula, and spinach can be grown in small containers or hydroponic systems and provide a continuous supply of fresh greens. We’ve grown these inside when we lived in a small space but also grow them inside during the shoulder seasons. Grow them right in your kitchen and harvest a few leaves whenever you want a quick snack or want to make a sandwich.

Strawberries: These fruiting plants can be grown in hanging baskets or vertical garden systems and provide a sweet and delicious treat. The tricky part about growing strawberries in an apartment is that they only produce for a certain part of each year, and then must be maintained during the rest of the year. Strawberries do benefit from a cold spell in the winter, so if you are growing them inside, find a time of the year to put them outside in the cold.

See more about growing strawberries vertically in a small space.

Carrots: While not all varieties are well-suited for indoor growing, some smaller carrot varieties can be grown in containers and harvested when they are still young and tender. Carrots can be grown in pots either near a sunny window, under grow lights or on a patio.

Garlic: Garlic bulbs can be planted in small pots and grown indoors, providing a flavorful addition to your cooking. Garlic can be grown in dirt or hydroponically indoors. Garlic grows best with at least 6 hours of sunlight/day. Chill garlic bulbs in the fridge for a few weeks prior to planting to grow a full bulb, or simply grow the greens from the top of the bulbs and snip them off for cooking.

Beans: Bush beans and pole beans can both be grown indoors in pots or on a trellis and provide a good yield in a small space. For apartments, we prefer bush beans unless you are planning to trellis up the pole beans with extra space. Beans are fun to grow and another great crop for just snapping off a bean for a snack.

Homesteading in an apartment: Grow Tomatos
Homesteading in an apartment: Grow Tomatos

Where to Grow Food in an Apartment

Homesteading in an apartment means growing your own food inside your apartment without having a big garden or farm. The most important consideration is where you will grow your food. Plants need sunlight to grow, so you’ll want to find a sunny spot in your apartment. Below are a few options of where to grow your food in an apartment.

A South Facing Windowsill: A windowsill that gets at least 4-6 hours of direct sunlight per day is the ideal place to grow your food crops in an apartment. This is especially good for plants that require minimum sun. This works well for most herbs. Even with more land we like to grow a few herbs on our kitchen windowsill.

Use an Outdoor Space like a Balcony: A step up from growing your plants on a windowsill is to grow them outside on a balcony or porch if you have them. This only works if the balcony gets sunlight for at least 4-6 hours a day. If you get more sun, you can consider some other crops listed above like lettuce, tomatoes, or peppers.

Invest in a Grow light: If you want to up your growing game, consider getting a grow light for your apartment. You can find many small and attractive grow light kits that can be used on a kitchen counter or in an apartment corner. Below you can see a few options for indoor growing light kits. Some indoor grow light kits for apartments use hydroponic technology while other grow plants in a seed tray.

Tips for Growing Plants in an Apartment

Here are some tips to help you get started growing plants in an apartment:

  • Choose the right plants: When growing plants in an apartment, you’ll want to choose ones that don’t take up too much space, don’t need a lot of sunlight, and are easy to care for. Good options include herbs, small fruit plants, and leafy greens like lettuce and spinach.
  • Choose the right containers: When growing plants in an apartment, you’ll want to use containers that fit in your space. You can use anything from small pots to hanging baskets to vertical planters. Make sure your containers have drainage holes to prevent water from building up and causing root rot.
  • Use good soil: Good soil is important for healthy plants. You can buy potting soil at your local garden center or make your own by mixing equal parts compost, vermiculite, and peat moss.
  • Water regularly: Plants need water to grow, so make sure you water them regularly. Check the soil with your finger to see if it feels dry before watering. Overwatering can be just as harmful as underwatering, so be sure not to water too much.
  • Fertilize occasionally: Plants need nutrients to grow, so you may want to fertilize them occasionally. You can use a liquid fertilizer or add compost to the soil.
  • Keep pests away: Pests like aphids and spider mites can damage your plants. To keep them away, you can use natural remedies like neem oil or insecticidal soap. You can also use sticky traps to catch flying insects.

By following these tips, you can successfully grow your own food in an apartment and enjoy the benefits of fresh, homegrown produce.

Homesteading in an Apartment: Beyond Growing Food

Homesteading is much more than simply growing food and there are so many ways to practice homesteading in an apartment besides growing foods. For a deeper dive into apartment homesteading, check out our article: Apartment Homesteading for Beginners.

Below are a few ways you can homestead in an apartment:

Composting – You can still compost in an apartment by using a small compost bin or vermicomposting with a worm bin. This is a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for houseplants or a small balcony garden. Many cities offer composting services, or you can keep a vermiculture bin under your sink.

Natural Cleaning – Make your own cleaning products with simple ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. Not only is this better for the environment, but it’s also cost-effective and healthier for you and your family. You can also choose to purchase natural cleaning supplies at the store.

Sewing and Repurposing – Take up sewing or repurposing old clothes and fabrics to create new items for your home or wardrobe. This is a great way to reduce waste and create unique, one-of-a-kind pieces. You can also learn to knit or crochet to make clothes for the winter or even learn to spin your own fiber.

Homemade Personal Care – You can make your own natural personal care products like soap, shampoo, and toothpaste using simple ingredients like coconut oil and essential oils. This is a great way to save money and reduce exposure to harmful chemicals.

Recycling – Even if your apartment complex doesn’t offer recycling, you can still recycle by taking your items to a local recycling center or finding a drop-off location nearby. Remember that the best way to promote sustainability is to reduce first, reuse second, and when those don’t work – recycle.

Energy Conservation – Save on energy costs by making small changes like switching to LED light bulbs, using power strips, and unplugging electronics when not in use. You can sometime opt into using renewable energy through your energy company.

Rainwater Harvesting – Collect rainwater in a barrel or container to use for watering plants or cleaning. This is a great way to conserve water and reduce your water bill. This can be done in some urban homesteading situations where you have a patio or a roof.

Plan for the Future

If you are truly dedicated to homesteading, homesteading in an apartment may just be a jumping off point to growing your homestead in the future. Use the time to research and learn more about homesteading so you can hit the ground running when you have more space.

See our recommendations for the Best Homesteading Books.

Summary of the Best Plants for Homesteading in an Apartment

In summary, there are many ways to grow plants and homestead in an apartment. This list of the 10 best plants to grow when you are homesteading in a city or the suburbs will help you get started on the right path. Whether you plan to homestead in an apartment forever, or use this as your first step to building a larger homestead, there is no time like the present for starting to build the life you want.

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