Don’t Get Fooled by Watermelon Radishes - 4 Simple Steps to Growing a Thriving Fall Apartment Garden
Updated: Nov 3, 2021
Growing edible crops in a small space can be challenging. Especially when we make plans to provide all our food for entire year. I love the concept of square foot gardening and encourage you to grow tons of edible plants. But if the idea of taking on that challenge is intimidating - this post is for you. Keep reading to learn a unique but simple way to plant a small-space fall garden that you will actually use!
First, what’s all this about watermelons and radishes? Well, as I’m writing this I am fresh from making a rookie gardening mistake. I was working on my fall product line-up for the Hortiki PLants Shop. For the first time in three years, I planned to change up my product mix. I had a good idea of what sold in previous years, but I have learned a lot. I’m excited to improve the kits and make them simpler and more useful for my customers. I received a lot of questions over the spring and summer. I have a good idea of what people's challenges are.
With this mindset, I sat down to plan my fall product mix. I immediately put down the “fan favorites”. Our fall leafy greens and root vegetable kits. This year, to help people have a better, more abundant harvest, I decided to sell larger containers. I found 100% recycled fabric grow bags, large enough for the entire process, from seed to harvest.
I added kale and spinach. I made a plan to update and enhance the microgreen kits. I drooled over the many varieties and colors of carrots and added carrots to the list. Then I got to radishes. And that’s where I hit a road bump. If you are tuned into food writing, farmer’s markets, and gardening media, you know radishes are hot (pun intended). Watermelon radishes are pretty much a MUST if you are a chef or foodie and want a viral food photo.
So I was excited about making a radish kit. There are tons of colors and varieties. They grow easily and well in containers. They grow super quickly. Win, win, win and win! Only there is one small problem. How often do most of us cook radishes? Their spiciness can be a challenge for a lot of palettes. Even when we do need them - we often use one or two and throw the rest away. I didn’t sell many kits with radishes last year. Or the year before… or the year before. But they are sooo pretty! Hahaha.
That was my thinking but I made myself take a step back. I love Hortiki and have a lot of fun with it but at the end of the day, it’s a business. I have to create products that meet people’s needs. And until I have evidence to the contrary - It’s not clear that my people need or want to grow radishes. So I did what I am encouraging you to do here. I took a ‘use-based’ approach to my garden kit planning. I based my plant selections on those products that I know people love and eat a lot of. Plant varieties people can grow again and again. Never having to worry about spoilage, chemicals in their food, or food waste.
Visit the Hortiki Plant's Shop to see my final selections!
Do you want to take a similar approach and grow only what will be most useful this fall? Continue reading for my four-step strategy to grow a thriving fall apartment garden. Get the FREE guide to follow all the steps and finish with a ready to plant garden plan.
STEP 1: Recipe Curation
Okay - let's start with the fun stuff. What do you love to eat in the fall? (Warning - you may get hungry doing this exercise). My best tip for this part of the process is that you take the limits off. At this stage don’t worry if you have the space to grow it. Or if you could ever grow enough of it to meet your needs. Close your eyes and go to your happy place. If it’s helpful, take it meal by meal and note down your favorite, go-to foods. Or, after months of quarantine eating, is improving your diet a goal for you this fall? If so, write down the types of recipes you need. This may look something like: - Healthy breakfast bowl; - Alternative to morning danishes; - Filling lunch option; - Protein-rich, vegetable dinners. Once you have the types of items you need - do a little 'research'. Set a timer and give yourself no more than 30 minutes to browse for recipes that catch your eye. Start a Pinterest board if that’s your thing and pin things for later review. (Stop by and follow Hortiki on Pinterest while you’re there. Tag @hortikiplants so we can see what delicious recipes are catching your eye).
STEP 2: The Initial List
Now you have an idea of the meals you would like to enjoy this fall. Make a list of the fruits, vegetables, and herbs you will need to make those recipes. Which items do you see most? Separate the items into categories: Frequent, Sometimes, Rarely. Use the charts provided in the free guide to keep your ideas organized.