The 6 Easiest Herbs and Vegetables to Grow at Home (No Matter How Small Your Space)
You might be wondering why on earth someone would want to go to the trouble of building and maintaining their own vegetable garden when the local supermarket stocks fresh produce every day. However, regardless if you have a backyard or you’re limited to a small balcony, the health benefits of starting a veggie garden go above and beyond.
For starters, gardening is a soothing practice for your mental health and is a simple way to reap the benefits of being out in nature without having to leave the house. It’s also a great way to cut down on your food and plastic waste as the founder of Banish, Lottie Dalziel, explains to Bed Threads Journal.
“Most herbs come wrapped in plastic, so by growing your own you can cut down on your plastic use,” Dalziel says.
Plus, how many times have you bought herbs, used a few leaves and left the rest to wilt in the fridge, only for it to be disposed of a few days later? “Everyone became obsessed with growing their own veggies during COVID lockdown, which was a great exercise to teach people how much effort goes into growing our food and showed everyone why it’s so important not to waste it.”
Because of this, think of having a veggie garden as a long-term investment. “Growing your own herbs and vegetables is a money-saving trick because it means you have endless supply without the weekly fee.”
How do you start a herb garden for beginners if you live in a small apartment?
One of the biggest dilemmas stopping people from starting their own garden is their limited outdoor space. However, you don’t need a large soil-rich backyard to grow your own herbs and vegetables.
Here are three simple essentials you need to reap the benefits, according to Dalziel:
1. A balcony or outdoor wall
“Make the most of small spaces with vertical gardens and pots. Lots of fruit and veggies such as blueberries, mint and rocket love growing in pots.”
“Veggies and herbs thrive in sunny, warm spots so make sure they get enough sunlight.”
3. A little TLC
Unfortunately, having a veggie garden isn’t a set-and-forget situation (you only have to look towards those sad supermarket herb bunches sitting in your kitchen). “Aside from mint and rosemary, having your own garden is no easy feat and being a caring plant parent goes a long way.”
However, that’s not to deter you from investing in your own garden. In fact, there are a range of herbs and vegetables that are tolerant to neglect (and gardening error) - and can thrive in the tiniest of spaces.
What are the easiest herbs and vegetables to grow in a small apartment?
Here are six of the easiest herbs and vegetables to get you started:
1. Spring onions
Spring onions are the best vegetable to start with, even if you consider yourself a complete gardening amateur. “Spring onions are the easiest vegetable by far,” Dalziel explains. “All you need to do is pop the roots and approximately 3cm of the white stem in a glass of water and literally watch them grow overnight. Then snip off and use as needed - no soil needed.”
Pesto-lovers, rejoice! “Basil loves being kept in a small pot in a sunny position. Give it water every couple of days - it’s that easy.”
“Luckily, mint doesn’t need a whole lot of sun or love to thrive.”
But there is one slight problem with growing the herb: “Mint is extremely clingy, so it’s best to keep it in its own pot away from others to avoid it taking over your entire garden.”
“Flat leaf or curly parsley is a simple and easy herb to grow at home. All she needs is a sunny spot to thrive.”
“A bit of a strange one, but since potatoes grow underground, all you really need is a deep pot and voila - you’ll have your supply of potatoes to mash, bake, air-fry or whatever tickles your fancy.”
“Mushrooms thrive in dark, well-ventilated areas (hello, small apartments). Just keep them in a corner and you can watch them grow in hours - quite literally overnight.”
Lottie Dalziel is the founder of Banish, Australia’s eco-friendly and plastic-free online store. Find her on Instagram @lottiedl and @banish.au.
Interested in cutting down your food waste by composting? Here's a (very) practical guide to composting in a small apartment.