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Gardening Basics Indoor Plants

Apartment Living: Growing Green in Small Spaces

Words by Sydney Gutierrez

garden jars hanging in a window

You may not know this, but we started in an apartment. Our partnered founders Nick and Sarah started Modern Sprout in their North Side living room pressing together kits (generally creating a big mess) and seeking free surfaces on which to grow. After plenty of hard work, our little garden jars have grown us into a national brand still based in our hometown of Chicago, Il. We’re even ending our year in a new space big enough to hold our growing team and then some.

Though our entire crew will all soon work under one roof, our team members overwhelmingly live in urban apartments. We commute from our city spots trying our best to make our spaces work for us and the plant babies we inevitably take home. It’s hard to resist the call to bring home a few growable items after working at a business like ours! Working in plants has an infectious culture, you know. Though our collective willpower may lose out, eventually everyone runs out of space.

Here to help you think creatively, I have plenty of ideas for you based on my own city living experience. I live pet-less in a one bedroom apartment. The biggest advantage of my space? Thanks to loads of natural light and my Modern Sprout Grow Lights, I can bring any plant into my home. The biggest drawback? I’m space limited.

Don’t have space to spare?
Make thoughtful purchases in respect to the space you can actually allow for your grows. If you’re in a pinch, suspending well-anchored pots from your ceiling may be the way to go! Either opt for a trendy hanging planter or try one of our Garden Jar handle kits for a suspended herb garden with room to grow. I’m in love with my own DIY Disco planter.

Don’t have a green thumb?
Herb garden jars. It’s miraculously self-contained. All you really have to do with a garden jar is provide light and warmth of around 70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit, and change the water regularly. It’s that easy. With little to no intervention needed for most seed types to get started, it’s an extremely friendly start to what may feel like an overwhelming hobby.

A tip to you: Colder spaces like garden-style apartments should swing for cold crop plants.

Don’t have any countertop space?
Growframes are your new best friend. And you are about to have an unhealthy obsession with their style. The options are almost limitless in terms of what you can plant and how. Open your mind and think like a novice. Let’s say you want to grow some succulents, but you’re only rocking one window in your urban abode? Problem solved with the customization options found in our smart technology. Built in options are ready to for your sunlight lovers and can even support timid low-light plant types.

No need to plant in this watertight planter if you’re fond of change! Set your plants in their pots to keep them loose for continuous rearranging, or even add an attractive filler to build out the space like faux moss.

Missing natural light?
Growbars are the way to go. I’ve seen our growbars work to grow cacti from seed in closet-like conditions. Seed starting demands a ton of sunlight (how else are tiny seeds supposed to take in tons of energy to grow?) and every little bit helps. Let a grow light fill in the gaps where your plants sit on an otherwise shadowed shelving unit.

Have some hang ups?
Gardening isn’t just for those gatekeeping costal grandmothers anymore. Fabulously large hats are optional. Plants are the latest must have sitting squarely above children and just below a self-emptying vacuum amongst citybound folks.

I myself wasn’t a huge planter or necessarily a green thumb owner until I was deep-steeped into this culture. Coming to the grow-your-own movement with a fresh new angle has proven to be extremely valuable not only in my 9-5, but in my own apartment. Part of what attracted me to Modern Sprout is the ease of use and functionality of our designs for a small space like mine. I mean a garden jar!? Growframes? We’re brimming with cutting edge engineering and design with some really wonderful people supporting them.

We’re Modern Sprout. And we’re run by city-livers. Chicagoans. Efficiency unit lovers. Every day since 2013 we’ve been Connecting People and Plants. Maybe you’re next.

Happy Cultivating!
The Modern Sprout Team