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Herb Gardening it up in my appartment

IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
I have a pretty big balcony, but it only gets a few hours of direct sunlight thanks to a line of trees blocking the sunrise, and the overhang on my balcony blocking the sun after 11am. I grew a bit of basil and it was not wholly unsuccessful but the plant never got to the fullness that my last one did on our porch that got full sun.

I now see two options,
1) Buy an areo garden
2) go absolutely crazy and try and rig some grow lights outside myself.

The problem seems to be that option two wont save me any money, because the cost of the lights is like 50-60 itself (such as this: Which I could use in tandem with some pots and such that I have outside, but once I buy the materials I'll probably be pretty close to this medium areo garden in price:

Since the balcony gets a little sun, figure I can probably get away with a pretty shitty rig to supplement just a few more hours of sunlight. I know some of you are crafty, I'm just wondering if anybody has built something cheap that may be worth trying to replicate? I have a little time before it warms up, but I'm down in Texas so not much longer.

Visuals of balcony:
The Balcony really is quite large, Its nearly 5X19 and in a meduim sized apartment that's a lot of space to utilize, here's a visual:
You can see my succulents growing with relative success, as well as the forgiving sweet potato vines. I plan to put the herbs on a little rack and pushing it against the wall.


  • XaquinXaquin Right behind you!Registered User regular
    Rosemary and Oregano will grow just fine with little sun

    Not sure about any others

  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    the goal would be to grow all of my most used herbs, so basil, cilantro, chives, rosemary, sage, parsley and thyme.

    Really basil and cilantro are things that would be convenient to have growing at home, because I use a ton of both.

  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Caaba Beankomy XobthroRegistered User regular
    I was just checking out window farms on TED the other day.

    Also, if you don't want to buy, as the TED talk explains, they have the information to DIY.

    Might work for you.

    And I won, so you lose,
    Guess it always comes down to.
  • Kilgore TroutKilgore Trout Registered User regular
    A homemade light setup doesn't have to be expensive. You don't need specialty growing lights because it isn't about the fixture, it's about the bulbs. I've got an indoor garden at home where I just use a lamp I bought at Canadian Tire and some good LED bulbs.

    Just make sure that whatever bulbs you get are "full spectrum" and have a high lumen rating and you're off to the races. Also make sure to check that your lights aren't too close to the plants and end up cooking them.

    I should note that I've never grown anything from seed with this set-up. Only things that come pre-grown a bit.

  • littlewrenlittlewren Registered User regular
    The problem I had with basil here is TX was the heat. Once I moved it indoors near a sunny window it did worlds better. The best herb I've managed to grow outdoors here is rosemary. I've heard that cilantro should do okay in the heat, but I've never grown it personally because I think it tastes like soap.

    Twitter: @LittleWren42
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    My priorities shifted a little bit, as a few days after making this thread we got rear ended at a red light, and now we need to buy a car. I was thinking about just buying a window farm, but we'll see if I have funding for that. I think if I got a window farm I would still potentially need to supplement the light.

    I was thinking about something like this:

    I had basil growing on our old balcony and it did quite well, it had full morning sun and it seemed fine. When we moved in august and it was shaded, it wilted.

    I have some amazon giftcards so If I can construct something with that money, I will potentially put something together.

  • SanderJKSanderJK Crocodylus Pontifex Sinterklasicus Madrid, 3000 ADRegistered User regular
    Mint grows so readily some consider it a weed, so for darker corners that may be an option.

    Steam: SanderJK Origin: SanderJK
  • IrukaIruka Registered User, Moderator mod
    edited June 2015
    I thought I would update this thread because I rarely do that after I ask all you guys for help, and the garden has been pretty successful! Its fun to look at the progress.

    I bought that light in January and got a bunch of seeds:

    That worked super well:

    Transfered them outside before the leaves even got on the trees:

    Despite only really getting sun from sunrise to noon, they are all doing pretty well. the sweet basil is a little weak, but I just replanted more thai basil than I know what to do with. I havent ventured to move the light outside (kinda afraid it will annoy my neighbors, honestly) but I may do that for a higher basil yeld, it is currently stretching over the railing to try to get more sun.


    I was able Grow parsley, sage, thyme, oregano, thai basil, and sweet basil.

    So-so results were, rosemary (its alive but only doing okay) Cilanto (killed the plant by eating too much) Dill (killed it, I think it was just a too small pot though).

    Oh, that huge purple flowering plant is the same guy as the tiny kinda fuzzy plant in the foreground of my first image. Its a lavender plant and it fucking went bananas.

    Iruka on
This discussion has been closed.