This post is in partnership with Chris Bowers. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.
I talk a lot about gardening and growing your own here on Moral Fibres, but what if you’re one of a growing number of renters, and have caught the green fingered bug? Never fear, I’ve got some great tips on gardening for renters!
Having lived in my fair share of rented properties (14! What can I say, I moved around a lot as a student/young adult…!) I’ve lived in the entire spectrum of flats. From inner city flats with no gardens, flats with a concrete yard, to flats with balconies, and flats/houses with gardens large and teeny tiny.
I’ve also experienced the entire landlord spectrum. From the landlords who don’t mind what you do to the flat or the garden, as long as it’s clean and tidy when you move out (my personal favourite); to the landlords who won’t let you do as much as hang a picture on your wall, and every other type of landlord in between.
Whatever your flat and landlord situation is, then there are lots of options for gardening for renters, and for growing your own to suit.
I’ve written from my own experience and I’ve asked gardening pro, Lyndsey Haskell, for some advice on gardening for renters too, but if we’ve missed any key advice then do add it in the comments below:
Gardening for Renters
If you have moved into a flat/house with a garden and an easy going landlord who doesn’t mind what you do to your garden, then Lyndsey wisely suggests that “it really pays to be patient and try to wait a year to see what is in the garden before you dig everything over. There may be some fabulous perennial plants ready to pop up at different times of the year.
Also, it’s a lot of work to dig over a garden and you never know when you’ll move out and want to take your plants with you. So to avoid planting things in the soil, it’s worth building a small raised bed or getting some containers or gro-bags which you can easily transport when you move. These solutions are really handy as you can better control the soil you are using too and it gives you a blank canvas for growing what you would like“.
Containers, tubs and gro-bags are highly recommended by me too. One rented flat I lived in a few years ago had a balcony no bigger than the one pictured above. We filled it with pots, plastic tubs, a wash basin, old pots, etc, and were self sufficient in lettuce, nasturtiums, chillies, herbs and pot grown strawberries that we bought online for the whole summer. It’s a cheap and easy non-permanent gardening for renters solution, and you can take your tubs with you when you move. It’s also great for gardens where the landlord won’t allow you to make any changes. For growing larger items, large plastic trugs make handy portable planters (though might require a few people to help lift it!).
Container gardening is also a good option if you have a concrete yard, or if your only outdoor space is a doorstep. While the old classic, window boxes, are great for growing herbs and lettuce in if you have absolutely no outdoor space whatsoever.
If you move into a flat with no outdoor space Lyndsey suggests that “the best things to grow indoors are some herbs and salad that don’t take up too much space and that you use a lot in your cooking, such as rosemary basil, parsley and lettuce. To maximise plant growing space think about suspending your pots on different levels using macrame or even invest in a fancy sky planter“.
Here’s a handy tutorial to make a trendy (yes, trendy, it’s true!) macrame plant pot holder if you’re feeling inspired. Otherwise window ledges make great plant growing spots. If there’s a radiator under the window just remember you’ll have to water your plants more frequently as they’ll tend to dry out faster.
Lyndsey’s final word of advice on gardening for renters is “alternatively, share your gardening space with other people. This might mean helping out a neighbour on their garden or sharing an allotment with friends. Or in some cases, joining in with a community garden. If you’re short on space or time, it takes the pressure off and means you get to share the work with other people and benefit from their wisdom“.