Are there any of you out there?
What do you grow in your compact confines?
What works and what doesn't?
Are any of you brave enough to tackle kitchen compost when you and your neighbors can literally smell EVERYTHING the other person does?
What tips and tricks do you use?
I have a balcony with space, but no sunlight. 
I'm still growing some kitchen herbs, though.
My rosemary, oregano and mint look a bit lackluster, but they are surviving and providing enough for my household. 
I personally use a bit of vinegar and epson salt as the only plant food or fertilizer up until recently, when I just tossed a handful of used coffee grounds and some cooked egg shells into a tub to dry. When the mixture is no longer moist, I plan on crushing it up into a powder and sprinkling along the base of the plants. 
Any other tips?



Tags: apartment, cozy, gardening, small, space

Views: 10

Replies to This Discussion

Misty, Vinegar is not really a fertilizer, but it is useful to correct the pH of the tap water. Most cities adjust the pH of our tap water to about 8.2 with limestone, which is quite alkaline, to keep lead in old plumbing from getting into the drinking water. About 1 Table spoon of vinegar per gallon will adjust the pH down to about 6.0 or so, about ideal for most plants.

Eggshells are the opposite, they are basically like limestone(calcium carbonate), and will eventually bring the soil to a pH of about 8.2 or 8.4. Lots of plants actually don't mind soil pH around 8 or so, like for instance, two you mentioned, Rosemary and oregano. Tomatoes like pH to be about 6, potted azaleas are the most extreme acid lovers, liking a pH of 4.5 or 5, like a peat bog. Vinegar is good for acid loving plants, to correct the tap water.

Coffee grounds are great fertilizer. They are mostly nitrogen, in a good slow release form, and they also give a bit of acid to the soil, like a slow release form of vinegar. Be careful not to put too much coffee grounds in one plant. I'd only put about 1 tablespoon per 8 inch pot every two weeks. You don't want the grounds to be a solid layer, stir them into the soil lightly. If you see any bluish mold on the soil surface, you've been putting too much coffee grounds, so cut back. Drying them out is a good idea, so you can just put little pinches on your plants, more frequently.

If you have light level problems, try to give these herbs and food plants the brightest possible spots, like hanging off an outside rail. Putting them next to a bright colored reflective wall can help too, but not if they have to be recessed away from the sky.
I've heard that you should compost with worms if you are going to compost indoors. Everything that I've read about worms says that they don't give off any odor as long as you don't put too much food in the bin. You can make a worm bin out of two rubbermaid containers for about ten bucks and you can gather worms on a rainy day (just make sure you get the right kind of worm) or you can order some.
http://www.vermicompost.net/worm-composting/wormery-composter/rubbe...

If you get any sun at all on your balcony you might want to try growing some of these plants in containers. http://organicgardening.about.com/od/vegetablesherbs/a/shadeveggies...
Good suggestion but needs proper scientific input...
You can't grow most plants without light. Indoors you either need sunny windows, or, failing that, artificial light. New developments in T5 flourescents and LED grow-lights are bringing down the cost of plant lighting. More and more people are trying indoor vermicomposting to deal with kichen waste and create natural organic plant food. If you can get over the "ick" factor, most find a small, under-the-sink worm composter quite odorless. Vinegar is very bad to give plants--it is an acid and contains no actual plant nutrients. It will lower the soil pH and make many nutrients unavailable to plants unless your soil or water have a high pH to begin with. Epsom salt (magnesium sulphate) should be used sparingly. What plants need is nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Blood meal and bone meal are excellent organic sources of nitrogen and phosphorus respectively. For potassium, you need either a source of wood ash, or muriate of potash which is mined. I prefer potassium sulphate. To find proper lighting and plant food you may need to go to a store that caters to the indoor pot-growing community--they have many products not carried by conventional plant stores and nurseries.

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