Places To Grow

The posts so far have been working on the assumption that you have a readily available place to dig in and start growing your own. What if you live in an apartment, or some other place where the land is either unfit or unavailable to you? Well, I have good news for you: there are a few different options. The most common solution is container gardening. Essentially, this is just growing plants in pots, and it can be just as rewarding and productive as gardening in the ground. You can set pots out on a balcony, door step, or even a flat roof (IF there is appropriate safety equipment installed, and IF you don't put too much weight). There are a few things to keep in mind when container gardening anywhere:

Soil: You will need to bring in your own, since pots don't normally come with soil already in them. Stick to potting soils, either home-blended or store-bought, as soil from the ground will very likely get compacted and end up smothering the roots of your plants.


Containers: You can use a large variety of containers, as long as they are free of residues from things like food or chemicals. I'd recommend staying away from metals that rust easily if you want to grow food in them, whereas food-grade barrels are a safe bet. Make sure whatever container you use has sufficient drainage in the bottom, and that you put a tray of some kind underneat to catch any excess water.

Water: You'll need to water any plant in a container more frequently than you would plants in the ground. This is because there is less soil from which the plant can draw moisture from.

Plant varieties: You should probably stick to plants that are small, or grow up poles and nets easliy. A few examples include most kinds of cherry tomatoes, pole beans, peas, and certain varieties of carrots. Large plants like pumpkins might be possible, but would probably dominate your space.

Another option available to you is Community Gardens. There are an ever-increasing number of these across the province, and can be a great way to get your dirt fix while meeting new people. They are usually on donated or public space, and often run by a committee. Some materials may be provided, but you should find out the specifics of what is and isn't provided before signing up. Community gardens are normally organized as one large garden, which means that everyone is responsible to help keep the garden neat and tidy. This also means (in most cases) that individuals don't have their own space to grow whatever they want.

If you want to have a bit more control, you can look in to Yard Sharing. The basic idea is, there are people who have space (usually a back yard) who are willing to let you use it for gardening, often in trade for something. This can be an excellent way to get gardening in the ground on your own terms, but make sure you discuss the details with your new silent gardening partner, such as:


  • When is it ok to be there?
  • When is it ok NOT to be there?
  • Do I need to call ahead before I come over?
  • What (if anything) will the landowner get in trade?
  • If they get a share of the harvest, can they go and get it themselves, or does the gardener pick it and give it to them?
  • Who provides the tools?
  • Who provides the plants and/or seeds?


In Europe, as well as a few cities in Canada, Allotment gardens are another option. In a way, it's similar to Yard Sharing, except the landowner is usually a municipal government and the rules are already laid out. As well, the "trade" is usually more of a lease, where the gardener pays the landowner a set amount each year for access to the property. Each gardener is responsible for their own plot, and will need to make sure to follow the rules set out by the landowner. This doesn't seem to be a common model in Newfoundland, but if you know of any allotment gardens in the province, be sure to post a comment!