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The moveable garden: Gardening tips for renters

By Paige McCallum

Even if you’re renting your home, a garden is still a possibility, indoors and outdoors. 

While you may not want to invest in fixed garden beds, or large indoor trees, there are a bunch of ways to grow your own veggies and green up your space!

Let’s run through some ideas on how to create a garden that is mobile and easy to take with you when you move on.

For renters, there will always come a time when you have to get the cardboard boxes and packing tape out and move. Whether that’s in six months or several years, it’s still important to make the space your own. Plants are such an effective way to make a rental house a home because they liven up and personalise any situation.

Whenever you’ll be moving on, The Hungry Gardener says it’s still important to make your rental space your own. Picture: Erinna Giblin

But there isn’t much point in spending your time and money raising plants that you won’t be able to take with you. Basically, when you’re gardening outdoors, you’ll want to avoid planting directly into the soil or constructing permanent fixtures like garden beds, borders and fixed compost bins.

A similar principle applies for indoor gardening, where the focus should be on small to medium plants in lightweight containers. You don’t want to amass too many plants, or too many big plants, that will prove difficult to pack up and move when the time comes.

Moving plants can be difficult, expensive and also cause stress and damage to the plants themselves. So, here are some simple, inexpensive ways to make your garden mobile and ready to move.

1. Use polystyrene boxes

Lightweight foam crates are ideal as a mobile veggie patch. You can probably pick one or two up for free from your local green grocer if you ask nicely! Make sure there is some drainage in the bottom, then fill them up with a mix of good quality soil and compost and start planting. You can grow a range of delicious crops in these mini-farms, everything from leafy greens like lettuce, rocket and baby spinach to herbs and tomatoes.

These lightweight foam boxes are ideal as a mobile veggie patch. Picture: Erinna Giblin

2. Plastic pots work a treat

Plastic pots are so user-friendly for renters, whether you’re gardening indoors or outside. They have the benefit of being lighter than ceramic, cement and terracotta pots and they’re definitely less prone to breakage, which is an advantage when you’re on the move. Use them outdoors for succulents and small citrus trees. Indoors, use self-watering versions or team them up with a matching saucer and your choice of hardy indoor plants.

Indoors or outdoors, plastic pots are user-friendly options for renters. Picture: Erinna Giblin

3. Grow spuds in hessian sacks

Grow bags or hessian sacks are great for growing spuds and tomatoes. They’re mobile, too! Simply fill them with soil and compost and place them in a sunny spot where the veggies will thrive. When you’re watering, any excess water will drain through, so think about this when deciding where to use them. Many commercial grow bags come with easy-to-use handles for moving. If you’re using hessian sacks, cut them in half to reduce soil volume, or lay them out horizontally on top of an existing patch of dirt.

Grow bags or hessian sacks are great for growing spuds – and they’re mobile!  Picture: Erinna Giblin

4. Use felt pots

Felt pots are an alternative to plastic pots. Outdoors, they’re suited to fruit trees or even bay trees. Indoors you can plant directly into them or use them as a decorative cover for plastic pots. Just remember to be aware of catching any run-off when you’re watering, to avoid damage to floors and other surfaces. This is important when you’re renting, because you always want to leave the place in good condition – and get your bond back!

5. Create your own mobile garden bed

Mobile raised garden beds are another option for growing some edibles and flowers. You can make them yourself or buy one or two from your local nursery. Some models come with castor wheels, which make transportation a breeze. The benefit of a raised garden bed is that you don’t have to dig into the existing soil or disturb your landlord’s existing garden.

Fabian Capomolla believes even with limited space there are ways to grow edibles. Picture: Erinna Giblin

My advice is to keep things simple in the garden when you’re renting. But simple doesn’t have to mean boring! Even with limited space there are plenty of interesting ways to grow edibles and green up your living spaces. Or join a local community garden: It’s a great way to connect with like-minded people in your neighbourhood.


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