Gardening While Renting

Gardening While Renting: An Early Farewell to Year Two

This was the second year that I’ve been attempting to garden while renting. I shared about the beginning of this year’s garden back in April. I had high hopes for my few little plants I was able to plant in my tiny place. This year hasn’t gone as planned in a large number of ways and my little garden is no exception.

Small vegetable garden
Gardening in my rental – Year 2

Gardening While Renting Year Two Recap

For this year’s garden I chose to plant some things that I thought would be fun to grow.

  • Dill
  • Beets
  • Kale
  • Seed paper with a mystery plant

I made a bunch of mistakes right from the start, such as not paying attention to what time of year I was planting and not using fertilizer, but I was still hopeful my garden might work out all right. I counted all of those mistakes as lessons learned in my gardening adventures.

Cork Yoga Mat

Learning How to Garden

Because I’ve never had space to keep my own garden as a renter, gardening is all new to me. I’m finding there is so much to learn with gardening! With the food I planted this year, I had some specific questions I was wanting to answer.

How do you harvest Dill?

I was most excited about planting dill just because I love the smell of dill. I was also imagining pickling some veggies and maybe even making a vegan potato salad. Since the dill plant I purchased was quite full grown, I wanted to find out how to harvest it.

dill plant
Dill Plant
Image by John DiLiberto from Pixabay

It turns out harvesting dill is really easy! And it’s a fantastic plant because you can continue to harvest it all season and it will continue to grow.

As soon as your dill plant has a few offshoots of leaves, you can begin to harvest them. Just cut off the leaf stems at the base where it meets the plants and that’s all there is to it. Almanac has a great summary of growing and harvesting dill on their site, which I found helpful.

Here’s a quick 15-second video that shows how easy harvesting dill really is:

How to harvest dill from your garden.

How do you know when Beets are ready for harvest?

I was also excited to give beets a try as they are not something I normally buy at the grocery store. I try to eat a good variety of vegetables to get a variety of vitamins, but do also struggle to buy new things. I thought it would be great to have something new to try growing in my garden!

Since I know so little about beets, I had to look up how to know when to harvest them.

beetroot plant
Beet Plant
Image by Couleur from Pixabay

Gardener’s Path has some great, easy advice for knowing when to harvest your beets:

  • If you wait too long to harvest your beets, they will lose flavour.
  • Harvest your beets when they are the size of a golf ball or larger.
  • If you can see your beets protruding an inch or two out of the soil, it’s a good time to harvest them.
  • Wilted leaves are a sign you should harvest your beets.

In looking up when to harvest beets, I also came across the information that I could have been harvesting the leaves to eat! You can harvest a couple leaves per plant and The Farmer’s Almanac says you can do this until the leaves are 6-inches tall and become tough.

An Early Farewell To This Year’s Garden

Sadly, my gardening while renting adventure has come to an early end this year. My garden died partially because of me and partially because of other elements.

My dill and beet plants did not get enough water this year. I was already having trouble remembering to water my plants, but then my area was hit with extreme heat and a climate change induced heatwave. We experienced temperatures higher than I’d ever seen in our area before. During that time, I was focused on staying cool and knowingly neglected my garden.

My kale plants were stripped of their leaves by something or someone. I was so disheartened to see this as the little plants were growing so well before they were destroyed. I noticed them after my upstairs neighbours moved out and new tenants moved in, which is a risk of gardening while renting. In a shared space there is a chance your belongings won’t be respected.

It’s also possible that animals or insects destroyed the plants as I live in an area that is full of wildlife. Whatever happened, it destroyed the last of my plants and that was the end of the gardening season for me.

And lastly, the seed paper I planted never sprouted, so it remains a mystery as to what it would have been. I tried the seed paper both outdoors and indoors on my windowsill, but it did not grow in either place.

This Year’s Gardening While Renting Lessons

While my gardening while renting adventure came to an early conclusion this year, I still like to think of it as a success. As with my garden from last year, attempting to grow my own food makes me appreciate the work that goes into the food that I eat.

We can be so disconnected from the process of food production that it’s possible to forget the precarious nature of farming and food production. The heatwave we experienced in my area highlighted this even more, as it was easy to see how a change in temperature can impact a plant’s growth.

Even though I have no food to show for my little garden, I still learned a lot. I know more about proper times to plant in my garden, fertilizing the soil, and how to harvest various plants. Every new hobby and adventure will teach us something. This little garden is challenging me and teaching me something new every year.

How is your garden doing so far this year?
Are you a renter? Have you ever tried gardening while renting?

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  • Michelle (Boomer Eco Crusader)

    Gardening is definitely a learning experience. I remember when my daughter decided she wanted to garden a few years ago, her aunt told her “be prepared for disappointment”. LOL

    Our garden has done okay this year. We’ve had several meals off our beans. Our tomato plants are almost as tall as me. They have yielded a lot of fruit, although it has been small. We had our first meal of potatoes on the weekend. I planted garlic last fall for the first time and I enjoyed the first cloves on the weekend. I also planted leaf lettuce in pots on my deck for the first time this year and I’ve had enough for a few salads.

    On the downside, the tall tomato plants have blocked the sun so my peppers aren’t doing great, and my peas were a complete bust.

    I also planted geraniums and coleus for the first time for my flower pots. They were late in flowering but now that we’re near the end of the season, they look beautiful. Hopefully they will bloom into fall.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      “Be prepared for disappointment” made me laugh. That’s so true! But there’s so much reward too, which it sounds like you’re seeing this year too! 🙂

  • lynnmumbingmejia

    Oh, this is partly the reason why I haven’t pushed myself to garden! I feel like especially when you’re starting you’ve got to put some time learning! Hopefully the next time you try, you’ll have beautiful pickings! Thanks for sharing your journey x

    Lynn |

  • ReadAndReviewIt

    Great post! I’ve never been one for gardening, but I might give it a try sometime! It’s a pity yours ending early, but it’s great that you took so many lessons away from it! Thanks for sharing x

  • Caroline

    I really like this post. I’m going to attempt to grow some things this year. It’s definitely not as simple as just putting seeds in the soil, which I’m a little worried about. Not sure I’m going to be able to remember all of this – I’m starting off with some herbs and then we’ll see aha. x

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      It’s definitely a bit of trial and error! Starting with herbs is a great idea. I had some good success with my Basil last year and even learned how to propagate that plant. It is fun even with the ups and downs of it all 🙂

  • Jodie | That Happy Reader

    I have a small vegetable garden as well that I’ve been using for years and I can honestly say some years it does very well, and other years not so good. Often it’s weather dependent but lately our summers have been hot and dry necessitating frequent watering. Hang in there! I’d recommend asking a nursery or neighbours what grows best in your community – they can be a great source of information. Thanks for sharing.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      That’s a great idea, Jodie! My neighbour has a great garden, so I should try and ask them what has been working for them 🙂

  • cafebeauty2021

    I started a larger scale garden this year and my dill too suddenly fried from the heat. A reoccurring problem in my garden is yellow straight neck squash not growing well and dying earlier. I try to water at the same time very morning, and then it becomes a bit of a habit. Thanks for sharing your garden this year.

    • Ruth| Ruthiee loves Glamour

      Wow! Gardening is amazing but it requires a lot of effort (so much work goes into it) and time which I currently don’t have. It does require learning as well haha. I might start a garden someday and if I do, I’ll revisit this post. It’s nice to see your garden develop. I loved reading this. x

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      That’s a great tip about building a habit to keep up with watering. That’s definitely something I could work on! Thanks! 🙂

  • JamieAdStories

    I am just clearing my garden for a new design. I hope for a small veggie plot. Beetroot is good for blood pressure so it’s good to see more about it here,

  • anna k

    Thanks for sharing! I find that I personally don’t have much of a desire to try to garden at my rental. Its more that my area is being developed/gentrified and I don’t know what my landlord’s timeline is for selling. I do have two large potted plants on my front steps though, one with a sunflower in it, and they make me happy! Not many gardens around here survived the heatwave. It really caused alot of damage that even very seasoned gardeners couldn’t repair.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Thanks, Anna! 🙂
      Sunflowers are such a happy flower. It would be so nice to have those on the doorstep 🙂

  • Karalee

    I’m sorry to hear about your garden & that’s weird your seed paper never sprouted. I was growing some herbs too including dill in my apartment, but it was just too warm & my dill burnt even though I did try to water it regulary.
    Luckily the fruit at my partner’s mother’s garden did well & I was able to harvest rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries & currants.

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      Thanks Karalee. I’m sorry your dill didn’t survive either! Sounds like a great harvest from your partner’s mother’s garden though 🙂

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