How To Grow Your Own Food Even When You’re Renting

How To Grow Your Own Food Even When You’re Renting

Don’t think you can grow your own food if you’re renting? Well, you can. And, I’m going to show you how.

In fact, I’ve been renting for the past 20 years and still manage to grow my own fruit and vegetables every year. It’s so rewarding to go out to the garden to see what you can harvest for tonight’s dinner. Plus, everything tastes so much better when you’ve grown it yourself.

I’m going to discuss a few different scenarios for growing your own fresh produce so you can choose the one that suits you the best.

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Creating Garden Beds In Your Yard

If you live in a house with a yard, most landlords don’t mind you putting in a vegetable garden as long as you maintain it. The easiest way to do this is by installing raised garden beds.

I wrote an article a while back about raised bed gardening that explains how to do this. You can read the full article here.

Here’s a photo of one of my vegetable garden areas where I’ve installed a couple of low raised beds.

raised veggie garden

As you can see, there are a lot of plants in this section, all growing together. I’m not all that structured when I grow my veggies. Instead, I tend to fill spots as they become available. And, it seems to work. I do try and follow some aspects of crop rotation which we’ll discuss in another article.

Plus, there are advantages to growing lots of things together. It’s a great way to confuse garden pests and provide support for climbing plants.

Here’s a couple of photos of what the area looked like when I moved into this house just over a year ago.

veggie patch before
veggie patch before 2

As you can see, it was just an overgrown weed patch. This made it an ideal spot for a veggie garden because the area receives sun almost all day. Plus, it wasn’t landscaped.

So, if you live in a rented property with a spot like this, it’s simple to clean it up and add a productive veggie patch. It also depends on how long your lease is or if you intend to move soon.

I have a long lease, so I’m happy to install some garden beds to grow over the next few seasons.

Utilize Areas In The Yard That Aren’t Landscaped

Sometimes there are areas in a yard that are difficult to landscape. These include areas between the house and the fence or small areas behind a shed. As long as these areas receive a fair amount of sunlight during the day, they’re ideal for growing vegetables in.

Personally, I have a couple of long strips between the house and the fence and also an area next to the garage and the fence on the other side.

When I moved in, these areas were just covered in weeds and not utilized at all. Here are a couple of photos.

beside house before
beside garage before

All it took was a little work to remove all the weeds. Because I don’t like using herbicides in my garden, I just pulled them up by hand. I then added a layer of mulch to keep the weeds at bay.

Here’s what these areas look like now.

beside house after
beside garage after

Don’t you think that’s an improvement on areas that were overgrown? The area beside the house in the first photo gets a fair amount of sun in the summer but not so much in the winter. However, I’ve been able to grow a great patch of potatoes that I’ve already harvested a number of times.

Potatoes are so easy to grow and they help to break up the soil too. You’ll also find that you’ll miss some when you’re digging them up and they’ll just regrow. I’ve written an article about growing potatoes that you can read here.

By the way, that’s Marley in the second photo. She often likes to “help” me in the garden.

Growing In Containers

But, what about if you don’t have available areas like these in your yard or you don’t have much of a yard. Easy! You can grow your vegetables in containers. This is also ideal if you move a lot because you can take your containers with you.

Almost every vegetable variety is suitable for container growing. Here’s an article I wrote about this subject.

Even if you only have a balcony or a small courtyard, container growing is ideal. Most vegetable varieties are annuals, so you can mix it up depending on the season and the space you have.

Even though I have ample garden space available, I still like to also grow in containers. This allows me to make use of spaces where I can’t grow in the ground. Like these two pots of tomatoes that I’ve placed on a couple of pavers.

potted tomatoes

I also have a collection of tomatoes and sweet peppers in pots just outside the back door.

grow your own food pots outside back door

They sit nicely on this deck and get plenty of sunshine.

Just remember when growing in containers, that they’ll need to be watered more frequently as they tend to dry out quicker. I’m currently also working on making a herb planter from a pallet. But, that will be for another article.

Speaking of pallets, I recently saw an interesting video where the gardeners were growing all their veggies in containers that were sitting on pallets. I thought this was a great idea. It keeps the pots off the ground so that the roots don’t grow down into the soil beneath the pots.

Keeping your pots off the ground also helps with pest management. It’s much harder for those pesky snails and slugs to access your pots when they’re off the ground.

Grow In Hanging Baskets

Another great idea if you have limited space, is to grow vertically by having some of your veggies in hanging baskets. I recently wrote an article about what types grow well in hanging pots. You can read it here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best foods to grow yourself?

You can grow a whole range of vegetables, fruits and herbs in your own garden.

What foods are easiest to grow for beginners?

Start with fast-growing vegetables like leafy green such as lettuce, kale, swiss chard and spinach. Root vegetables such as radishes, carrots and potatoes are also very easy to grow.

Where is the best place to grow your own food?

Any spot that receives plenty of sunlight is ideal for growing your own food. This can be a spot in your garden or a planter or pots on a balcony.

Final Thoughts

I hope this has given you some inspiration to grow your own food even if you’re renting. Living in a rental property shouldn’t be an excuse not to enjoy the pleasures of gardening.

So, go ahead and give some of these ideas a try. Then, please share your experiences with us in the comments below.

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