We Started an Urban Garden

Brent Pittman —  04/30/2012

We've got a little garden gnome helper!

We started our urban garden this weekend on our apartment balcony. Thanks for those who offered tips from our Urban Garden: Frugal or Hobby post and via various social media.

Urban Garden: What Did You Buy and How Much Did it Cost?

The plants were relatively inexpensive while the dirt and containers to put them in were the greatest expense. It was a little more than I expected for start up cost, so this first garden doesn’t have much chance in saving money.

  • 1 larger planter + tray and hanging pot $30
  • 5- 5 gallon buckets and trays $40
  • 4 large bags of dirt  $36
  • Plants, bulbs, and Herbs $20 (so cheap!)
  • Gardening Tools: $18.50
  • Total $144.50 +tax

Urban Garden Tricks

Why 5 gallon buckets? They are much cheaper than planters and easy to move. I cut five holes with a sharp knife out of the bottom to let the water drain. I got the idea from the Urban Organic Gardner.

5 gallon bucket with holes for drainage

Urban Garden: What Did You Plant?

We decided to plant vegetables that are supposedly easy to grow and ones that we’ll eat. Starting from seeds is just hard, so we went with bulbs and starter plants to make it easy our first time starting a garden.

  • 1 Cherry Tomato
  • 2 tubers (starter potatoes)
  • 3 Squash and Zucchini plants
  • 3 Mixed Pepper plants
  • 2 Onion bulbs
  • 1 Mint
  • 1 Basil
  • We are trying to grow Oregano from actual seeds and have them started in an egg carton
    Urban Garden

    Balcony Urban Garden

    A few of the plants didn’t make the transition as we had 87 degrees one day.

    Our next goals are to start a compost bin and add a self-watering system.

    Did you plant a garden this spring or have a desire to start an urban garden? 

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Brent Pittman

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Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.
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  • http://themoneywars.com/ Shawn

    Looks like a great start.   We are working on our irrigation now as well.  I have been toying with the idea of aquaponics but that is a pretty big step. We look forward to seeing your progress!

    • http://www.ontargetcoach.com/ Brent Pittman

      The watering is tricky and we almost killed our basil and drowned some other planted. I think we’re on track now, though. Looking forward to the harvest late summer. 

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  • http://www.modestmoney.com/ Modest Money

    Awesome to hear that you’ve started your own garden despite living in an apartment.  I’ve always let that hold me back.  This would get me inspired to get started on my own urban garden, but my balcony just gets too little sun.  So I may have to wait until I move to a more appropriate apartment.  Be sure to keep us updated on the progress with this garden.

    • http://www.ontargetcoach.com/ Brent Pittman

      It is tricky, but I hope we’ll see some progress.

  • http://mymoneycounselor.com/ Kurt @ Money Counselor

    Okay–you’ve inspired me to try the same. Thanks!

    • http://www.ontargetcoach.com/ Brent Pittman

      Sweet! Let me know when you’ve got some pictures up! Too bad you’re not local or we could do a veggie swap in a few months.