Gardening While in College

With the advent of spring comes the songs of birds, warmer temperatures, and an overall buoying of emotions as everyone starts to get a little skip in their step as the sun shines down. With a little extra Vitamin D in your system, life seems to be a little lighter and brighter, and you might feel a renewed sense of energy as you go about accomplishing your daily tasks: walking to class, working on homework, or listening to a lecture.

Spring means that if you have a green thumb, you’re probably gearing up to start planting seeds and getting excited about watching the small buds peak through the surface of the dirt. If you’re in college, you might feel a little stumped about how you can practice gardening while living in a dorm room. Not to worry! If you’re living in a small, tight space and feeling like your food sources are bland, convenience options, consider the following ideas for growing green things while in school.

1. Herbs

Herbs are a great way to add pungent, delicious flavor to any meal. If you’re a beginner gardener, this is an excellent place to start, as herbs aren’t usually temperamental, and they merely need some direct sunlight to flourish. If you live in an apartment, consider putting your seedlings out on the porch or balcony. If you’re in a dorm room, keep your seedlings near the windowsill so they can absorb as much light as possible.

With herbs, you’ll be able to add flavor to Italian dishes, Mexican dishes, and more. Consider basil, parsley, cilantro, or chives to start out with.

2. Flowers

If you’re not interested in cooking with the plants you’re growing, think about starting a flower garden. There’s something refreshingly lovely about walking into a room and seeing living plants growing and blossoming by the window. Flowers are generally pretty easy to grow, and you can rest assured they’ll liven up the room with their bits of color. Add a little beauty to your dorm room and watch the loveliness unfurl, little by little.

3. Tomatoes 

Tomato plants can grow to be quite large, so if you have a porch or balcony, this is a great option for you. You can either hang tomato plants or add a bit of lattice to the pot for the vines to wind around. Tomato plants produce a bountiful crop, so you’ll have plenty of these vegetables to use in the dishes you cook.

If you’re looking to keep the plant size smaller, look for the “dwarf” variety. You might also want to consider another type of tomato plant, such as cherry or grape tomatoes, for a little variety in your salads or Italian dishes.

4. Get involved with a community garden

If you don’t have enough room to grow plants in your own place of residence, getting involved at your local community garden gives you the opportunity to grow a lot more produce than you might have room for at your own place. Some colleges and universities even have their own “community garden” right on campus.

You’ll most likely be required to purchase a “plot” in the community garden, so you might want to think specifically about what kind of plants you’ll want to garden and how much room you’ll need. Keep in mind that some community gardens have a long wait list, but some might have a list of odd jobs that might need doing, like cleaning up garbage or helping with watering. Even if you’re not able to get in there and plant you’re own flowers or vegetables, you can still get involved with gardening in a different way!

The benefits of gardening

There are all sorts of benefits that come from growing your own plants. Depending on how much you’re able to garden, you’ll be able to save money on vegetables and herbs you may normally have had to pay for at the grocery store. Your diet might get a little healthier too because you may feel a bit obligated to eat the produce you worked so hard to grow.

There’s also something sort of therapeutic to making things grow. Even if you’re a first timer, it can feel really satisfying to watch those plants blossom and flourish.