We don’t mean to sound paranoid, but there’s really only one way to be 100% certain your food is pesticide-free and locally sourced, and that’s by growing it yourself. Even if you don’t have any outdoor space, a sunny windowsill (or dark cupboard) is all you really need. We’re walking through the five things you can grow in your apartment and giving you tips on how to make your urban farming experience an absolute success.
Herbs are the obvious answer. Basil, thyme, oregano, mint, cilantro, rosemary, parsley — they’re all pretty easy to grow and perfectly happy in a pot. They like a lot of sun, so if your window faces north or over a courtyard, you might need a UV light to help them out. Make sure you use a porous pot (like terra cotta) with good drainage, and allow the soil to dry out between waterings. Believe it or not, herbs love to be chopped, so don’t be afraid to get happy with the scissors; as long as there are a few leaves left, the plant will regrow with vigor.
Scallions are probably the easiest to grow. Stick your cooking remnants in a small glass of water on a windowsill and watch the magic! Once the stalks have regrown, you can chop them and eat them, and the plant will grow again. Just make sure to change the water regularly to stop the roots from starting to rot or mold.
Radishes are short enough to grow happily in a small pot. As long as your pot is at least six inches tall, the width doesn’t matter too much. Although, the wider it is, the more radishes you’ll be able to grow. Keep a packet of seeds on hand so you can plant a new crop after you harvest the first.
Microgreens are kind of having their moment in the food scene right now… and they have the price tag to prove it. Microgreens can be anything from peas and beans to lettuces, all harvested just after they develop their first few sets of real leaves and before they grow into a full-sized plant. Whichever type you try, you’ll need a wide, flat tray just a couple inches tall. Make sure to keep the soil moist at all times but never soggy. Microgreens are harvested too young and too close to the root to be able to grow back afterward, but you can just sow another layer of seeds on top of the old roots.
Well, what else could grow in a dark cupboard? As long as it’s not above your stove or oven (it needs to be cool and moist), a shelf in a cupboard can be your new mushroom farm. Requirements vary depending on the type of mushroom you want to grow, but you can buy mushroom growing kits online, complete with instructions and everything you need to get started.
Have you tried growing any of your own food at home? We’d love to hear what worked (and didn’t work). Share your stories in the comments!