Originally published July 2008
I've tried to grow peppers, rosemary, and other greenery in my small New York City one-bedroom apartment, and each has died a quick death.
Is it me? Or is it what I've chosen to grow on my microwave-oven-like window ledge?
In hopes of helping others like me - inexperienced but eager planters who don't live in ideal conditions for growing green - I turned to Leslie Land, blogger for The Daily Green, and lead author of 1000 Gardening Questions and Answers ($8 at amazon.com).
Land warned me that nothing is completely trouble-free (you still have to water these, guys), and you're still going to need a safe outdoor spot (no fire escapes, people). She added that these choices wouldn't exactly impress a seasoned gardener. But that's ok; they would deliver on what I was looking for - they'd grow almost anywhere.
1. Herbs - While many herbs need sun, Land suggests growing parsley, which tolerates partial shade, and mint, which likes things a bit shadier. Land adds that in addition to being a wonderful fresh herb (don't forget to use those sweet stems!), giant flat leaf parsley also makes an excellent filler for flower arrangements.
2. Cherry Tomatoes - If you have a sunny spot, enough space for a whiskey barrel-sized container, and a 5-foot support, try planting an "indeterminate" cherry tomato plant. This plant will keep getting bigger all summer. Land points out you'll get a lot more yield for your space compared to a regular tomato plant.
3. Dwarf Evergreens - Who wouldn't want a little evergreen forest next to her humble home? Land says you'll have to go to a specialty nursery to find these little treasures, but that they are far less labor intensive than bonsai trees. Dwarf evergreens need to be in a sheltered location and not in direct sun.
4. Coreopsis - This long blooming perennial does very well in window boxes, according to Land. It's a sun-loving flower plant. Sign me up.
5. Coral Bells - Land says these are beautiful even when they're not flowering. They're a great decorative option and they do best in partial shade. Land emphasized these would grow anywhere. "Even Alaska?," I asked. "Well," she answered, "parts of it."
6. Sedum - There are many different types of sedum in all different sizes. Almost all are drought-resistant, and seldom bothered by insects or disease, which is about as trouble-free as it gets.
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