As I’ve discussed before, having a garden is a small dream of mine. I’d love to have a small backyard with a modest plot to grow greens, tomatoes, winter squashes, and the like for my culinary use. But living in an apartment (that doesn’t have a shared gardening space) can make this difficult. So far I’ve managed to keep Marvin the living basil plant alive for about three weeks. He’s grown taller and is still growing leaves, which makes him the most successful produce I’ve ever maintained on my own. Which makes me wonder, what else can I grow inside an apartment?
Enter the tote bag garden!
I got the idea specifically from this month’s Birds and Blooms, which suggested creating a portable garden by planting seeds within reusable tote bags. The light bulb sparked and refused to go off. Tote bags are cheap, big, and don’t take up a lot of space – why couldn’t I grow produce? And furthermore, why hadn’t I thought of this before?
So after deliberating about it for awhile (all of a week), I bought some seeds, reusable totes (made from recycled plastic), potting soil, a big plastic tub to hold the bags, and a watering can. In sum I paid about $43 for everything, including the watering can and the plastic tub; so your own costs may be less if you already have these materials available. The dirt only came to about halfway up the bag, so I cut off the tops for easy watering and maintenance. In lieu of proper garden markers from labels or popsicle sticks, I labeled my produce with some plastic forks I had lying around. Recycling!
I then planted my seeds: two different greens, kale and arugula, in one bag; brandywine tomatoes in another, and yellow pear tomatoes in the third. They’re hanging out in front of my window now in the living room, in the apartment below Marvin, if you will.
I am hoping this turns out at least moderately successful because it’d be a great and convenient way to grow produce that I tend to go through quickly and thus spend a lot of money on. I will of course be tracking my plants’ progress on the blog, so stay tuned! And hopefully I’ll have some recipes featuring homegrown tomatoes and greens later this summer!