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Get Growing: Starting off small

You may have to get creative when gardening on a small scale

If you’re an apartment dweller, you might think that there isn’t any way you can grow food. This does make it harder but it’s not impossible by any means, you just have to get more creative. 

Looking at the situation as an opportunity can help. You can utilize the space you currently have and experiment with small scale growing in pots or planters. 

This is a fantastic opportunity to fail on a small scale, learn from your mistakes, improve your knowledge, try again and repeat.  The experience can build  up your knowledge base in case you ever decide to expand your gardening skills to a larger scale. You'll likely be more successful, even if you have yet to be successful with small scale growing, which is exactly what happened with me.

An alternative to gardening at your apartment is to seek land elsewhere. If you have friends who have a yard or land that isn't being used at all, talk to them and see if they'll let you use a portion of it.  

There's also a decent chance that there's a community garden close to where you live that may have small plot available.  While this might not be a big plot and you might not be able to grow a lot in it, make do with what you have and again use this as a learning tool until you have a larger area available for your use.  

Also consider reaching out to local farmers who may may have a small patch of land that they're not using.   Even if they don’t have land available, there are volunteer opportunities where you'll likely learn quite a lot, very fast.  

It's all about utilizing this time in your life, finding the resources to help you move towards your goal, and gaining knowledge so you're ready to move on to a larger scale when the time comes.

Whether you are ready to start on a small scale or don't currently have a scale, opportunities exist to learn more about the food system and different cultivation methods.  Find a local farm and talk with the  farmer to get their insight.

  These conversations can teach you more about soil health, regenerating the environment, carbon footprints and more. The knowledge you gain can help you discover what type of food system you want to begin, what kinds of methods you want to adopt and what kinds of growing you want to support. 

It's very easy to look at living in an apartment or condo as a big disadvantage and think, "well there's nothing I can about it right now so I'm just going to watch a bunch of movies and shows."  There's almost always a different way to look at things and you can flip this thought around, use it as a motivator, figure out what you want to do in the future, gain the knowledge that you'll need to do this and then work towards that goal!

The full version of this article, Got Land can be found on my blog,

Have a question?

If you have any questions or subjects that you would like me to cover in this column, they can be emailed to with the subject of “Longmont Leader Question.” I will happily answer any questions that you may have, after all this column is for you to benefit from and enjoy.


James Lissy

About the Author: James Lissy

James, a Longmont resident, has spent the last few years learning the ins and outs of maintaining an urban garden.
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