Gardening While Renting

I grew up with a backyard garden so understand the benefit–and the joy–of having your own fresh produce at your fingertips. My Mummo always let us go into her backyard to steal raspberries and to eat carrots right out of the ground. My dad grew award winning sunflowers and pumpkins that were ginormous.


Unfortunately, there are a couple of things standing in my way of continuing on the family gardening tradition.

1. I have never had a green thumb.

I’ve always loved the idea of having plants around, but have successfully killed everything from bamboo to cacti. My skill level is at a negative. This past summer was the first time I’d successfully kept something alive. I had a surge of creativity and turned some tin cans and jars into planters. Almost one year later and 2 out of 3 succulent plants have survived and my cactus even blooms every now and then. These are huge wins for me!

2. I’m a renter

Being a renter, my space is never certain and the rules for gardening aren’t always clear. My current rental unit has no yard or balcony space for me to plant in or on. Since I’m living on someone else’s property, I’ve always been hesitant to plant down roots because it is only a temporary home.


This year, with a lot of help from Krista, I’m going to experiment with the space I have and see if I can grow some of my own food. I not only love the idea of being more self sufficient and sustainable, but also love the thought of learning new skills.

We have identified three areas that have potential for growing plants: two windowsills and a corner of my front stoop.

I hope to take windowsill gardening a step further than simply growing herbs. We are considering planting tomatoes and peppers to see how well they will do. While my stoop does get some sun, it will likely be best for shade plants. We are planning to attempt some trellis gardening as well to expand the small space that I have available to me.


In my current living situation I won’t be able to grow all of my own food and be completely self sustainable, but that isn’t the goal. The goal is to try new things and to make small changes and choices towards a better future.

This year’s gardening experiment will be a success if I keep some plants alive. The added bonuses would be my saving a couple dollars by eating my home grown veggies and my learning some new skills.

Are you planting a windowsill garden this year? What has been your biggest successes and challenges with gardening in a small space?


  • CristinaR

    Love this! I am a renter too, but luckily we managed to have some tomatoes planted outside in a pot. And we have indoor plants inside our bedroom, they make such a great look. ALso, I am the same, not a green thumb at all, but try my best! x

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      That’s awesome you’ve been able to find space to grow some plants! It can be challenging as a renter, but so worth it 🙂

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