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Fall is time for:

Planting cover crops

Sow cover crops like mustard, clover or peas and then turn them over to add nutrients when it's time to plant your veggies again.

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Garden Poll

What's the best fall garden activity?
Gardening in the City Print E-mail
Written by Cameron Tyler   

City GardenBy now, everyone knows the benefits of growing your own food, such as lessening the chance of allergies and other adverse reactions when you eat something that's been exposed to pesticides and other chemicals. Additionally, people who grow their own food are more likely to eat more vegetables, which improves your overall health and a healthy lifestyle now can mean fewer medical expenses later.

If you live in an apartment, you may think it's impossible for you to have a garden until you move into a home with a backyard, but this is simply not the case. You can easily have a small garden inside your apartment or on your balcony. If you're concerned about eating food that is organically grown, why not grow your own?

Make some space. Making space is going to be the hard part. You will want the garden in an area of your apartment where it will not disturb your normal movements. Also, there are bugs to think about. Like it or not, pests will come. You do not want to put your garden plants right next to your sofa or bed, so opt for a nice corner instead. Choosing a place that gets a good amount of sunlight will give you the best of both worlds when it comes to lighting. You can use both sunlight and artificial light for your plants. Make sure that there are electrical outlets nearby for any lighting you will need. Lay down covering on the floor.

Lighting. Grow lights will help your plants grow faster. Although you can use sunlight, the plant will not get as much light as it would outdoors. Supplementing a plant's sunlight needs is a good idea. You can set the timer to mimic sunrise and sunset times. It's important that you don't overdo it with lighting and that you remember that plants also need some darkness to be healthy.

Decide what to grow. Some plants and vegetables are more of a hassle to grow than others. Vegetables like carrots, greens and peppers can easily be grown in small containers. A vegetable like cauliflower will require a larger container and a tomato plant will probably have to be transferred to a larger pot. If you want an indoor garden that is easy to manage, pick vegetables that use smaller pots and do not have to be repotted.

Quality soil for quality plants. Know what kind of soil your plants need. While some plants need an acidic soil, others will require soil that is alkaline. Since you will not be growing the plants in the same pots, using different types of soil is not a big deal. You will need different soil for your plants that have already established themselves than you used to start the seeds.

Here come the pests.
Most pest problems are relatively minor. Using traps to get rid of pests is a good idea. Sticky traps will help eliminate any flying pests like fungus gnats and flies. The best defense against pests is prevention. Do not introduce infested plant material into your garden. Try to keep your windows shut so pests do not enter your apartment. If a plant becomes infested with pests, quarantine it until you can solve the problem. If the pest problem proves to be too much, dispose of the plant before the other plants become infested.

With proper planning, having an indoor garden is not that difficult at all. The hardest part is finding all the space you will need when you discover how easy it is to grow your favorite vegetables at home.

Cameron Tyler is a freelance writer with a passion for gardening, even in his cramped city apartment. He has a keen interest in sharpening his green thumb, and trying to find a coverage plan that fits in with his green lifestyle.

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