Herbs are ideal for small container gardening—they’re easy to grow indoors and they require little maintenance. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

How many times have you wished you could start a garden but feel like you just don’t have the space?

Well, it may surprise you to learn that it can be easy and convenient to garden in small spaces, especially with the new technology available today.

There are plenty of benefits to growing your own food. Just a few to consider

  • Cost: Seed packets and starter plants, which cost only a few dollars, will produce more than what you can purchase for the same price at the store.
  • Control: Whether it’s organic produce or heirloom tomatoes, the choice is up to you. You get to shape you garden—and your diet—as you see fit.
  • Eat more produce: Studies have shown that children who garden have a more positive attitude toward vegetables. Children and adults who garden tend to eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Mental health: The mycobacterium vaccae in the soil can increase your levels of serotonin, the hormone that acts as a natural antidepressant. This can boost your happiness and mental wellness.
  • Sustainability: Skip the packaging. You save on fossil fuel emissions by eliminating the travel of produce to your grocery store. Also, many of the supplies needed for gardening can be re-used.

Embrace the space

Try choosing plants that are more suitable for small spaces. The last thing you want is a zucchini plant that takes over your patio.

Plant vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, peppers, cucumbers, beets, radishes or potatoes. All of these grow well in pots—and they won’t take up your horizontal space.

Head indoors

Try growing microgreens, which are delicious on avocado toast. Carrots, beets, onions, cherry tomatoes, leafy greens and mushrooms are great indoor growers.

The biggest challenge to indoor growing is proper lighting. A south-facing window is a good option for spring and summer. Otherwise, purchase a grow light to achieve proper lighting year-round.

Explore hydroponics

A hydroponic garden is one that grows plants in a solution of water. No soil is needed, but you will need plant food that adds nutrients to the water to support growth.

Hydroponic gardens use less water and less space. They provide more yield compared to traditional methods.

You can grow anything in hydroponics—herbs, vegetables and flowers. Herbs can be enjoyed all year and you can save money by skipping the expensive fresh herbs at the grocery store.

If this sounds overwhelming to you, you can always give it a try with one small plant.

You may quickly find how much fun it is to watch your vegetables grow—and you’ll soon appreciate your homegrown food even more.