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 Post subject: options for renters?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:03 pm 
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Hi all!

We rent and therefore do not have very many options for a garden. We do have a patio, but my clay pots of green peppers and tomatoes never bring satisfaction or a decent crop. I would love to have a real garden.

So this got me thinking.... what are some creative options for apartment dwellers?

1. In the community I moved here from (in New York), we had a garden park - a portion of a local park out on the edge of town where one could rent a plot to grow veggies. It was very popular and successful. Has anyone heard of such a thing here in Lawrence? I know about the garden down on Vermont Street, but that is not the same thing.

2. Does anyone here have any hydroponics experience? From what I understand, it is not cheap, even if you don't use grow lights. The chemicals and continuous water pumping add up. I know there are a lot of internet resources on the subject, but I'd like to hear some first hand experiences. I'd love to try to grow hydroponic strawberries - that way I could get my wife onboard with the expenses (she *loves* strawberries).

3. I've semi-seriously thought of planting a "rogue garden." There's a lot of empty space out there and a couple of tomato plants strategically placed here or there might go unnoticed. But then again, they might not. And I'm pretty sure the critters would notice them even if people did not.

Any other thoughts, advice, comments?

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:33 pm 
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Location: Lawrence, KS
What type of space do you currently have? Can you do a shelf/ladder type of set-up?

Could your landlord be persuaded to go along with a garden if you float them some fresh produce from it?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 20, 2007 1:28 am 
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There are a couple of options for you, it kind of depends on where you live.

As far as I know, there are three community gardens in this town. One is near 6th and Mississippi (across the alley from Cork and Barrel). One is near the corner of 6th and Pennsylvania and is run by the East Lawrence Neighborhood Association, and the third is a new one (poorly located, though, in a very shady lot with horrible drainage) near the corner of 12th and Brook in far east Lawrence, and is run by the Brook Creek Neighborhood association.

All of these would be an option for you, I don't think you have to be a member of the neighborhood association to plant stuff there.

Another option is if you are a member of a church. At least St. John's downtown has a community garden; I'm sure there are other churches that would be open to it.


We have plenty of garden space, but personally, I like your idea of rogue gardening, and have done this many times. I mainly just throw extra, hardy flower seeds in vacant lots--cosmos, sunflower, zinnias and marigolds (the big ones). My husband planted some okra in a vacant space near our house, but the rainfall wasn't good for it this year. You almost need a space where you can quietly water them as you are walking by, if you want to actually get some fruit off of it.

Your landlord would probably be open to allowing a garden. Even a small one can produce big. I plan all my herbs and some of my veggies in my flower beds--so if there are flowerbeds around your complex, especially ones that aren't terribly well maintained, I'd jump on those and put some plants in there. Anything you can grow up the wall would be good, and you could make a trelles--squash, pole beans, cukes. You could put in basil and tomatoes for constant summer yumminess, they dont' take up much room. A couple of pepper plants space among the flowers will provide you with good spicing.

A small row of soybean plants will produce quite a bang for the buck--omigod, edemame (however you spell it) is a favorite at our house.
A small row of snap peas among the flowers will provide you with a week or more worth of delicious, sweet peas for your salads, for snacking on raw, or for stirfry.

For herbs to plant among the flowers I do--

Annuals--basil, stevia, parsley (plant a lot, it'll get eaten by caterpillars), cilantro, rosemary, dill (these will likely reseed--they are so tall and pretty when they are in bloom).

Perennials--sage--MUST HAVE SAGE! Oregano and mint--but beware--these are VERY INVASIVE and will choke out everything else around them. Plant them somewhere relatively sunny where you don't care if they grow over everything else--a patchy place in the yard where nothing grows is good.
Also lavendar, thyme.

Edible flowers like nasturtium are nice, I think. They really brighten up a salad. You can also plant salad greens in a nice sunny spot in a flower bed--plant them soon and they'll come up early, before alot of the flowers will.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 21, 2007 4:08 pm 
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Hey, thanks for the replies.

We live in the ground floor of a complex and so far the landlord hasn't been too keen on giving me garden space. I do have a patio as I said (its fenced in), and I've gone so far as to create a 6" wide bed all around the concrete slab and under the fence. Last year I had morning glories climbing the fence before the landscapers weed whacked them down. I may start expanding the bed a little bit each year until someone tells me to stop. I really like the idea of using the fence for beans.

I have no trouble with flowers in containers as long as I water everyday in July/August. The real problem is vegetables. My green pepper plants usually deliver one golfball sized pepper each. So I've given up and I stick to herbs and flowers which do well in pots.

Its really great to hear about the community gardens. I wish they were a little closer - we're in SW Lawrence and we don't own a car. I've thought about trying to start one down here as there are a number of apt complexes in the vicinity.

Your okra story has inspired me to try a patch of something inconspicuous along the edge of a field over here. I walk the dog there regularly so I can keep an eye on it. This will be interesting.

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