Square foot gardening by planting flowers, herbs and vegetables in wooden box on balcony
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For as long as I can remember, my affinity for greens and various vegetables has run strong. I was scarfing down peas with enthusiasm as a toddler and broccoli remains my favorite pizza topping. So, it’s safe to say I know my way around a patch of produce. There’s simply no denying, though, that when it comes to vegetables and herbs, whether for cooking or snacking on raw, that fresher means better. And there’s nothing fresher than homegrown.

The problem? I live in an apartment in the notoriously concrete covered Manhattan. Throw in that I don’t have any deck or roof access (sad, I know) and it paints a pretty barren picture. But unable to part with my green thumb, and more honestly, unable to regularly afford fresh, organic produce, I went on the search for ways to turn my three bedroom Upper West Side abode into a fruitful oasis of greens.

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In my research, I discovered the Aerogarden and immediately absorbed its instruction manual as my own personal doctrine. Essentially the Keurig of gardening, each Aerogarden model comes equipped with holes to insert pre-seeded pods that can grow everything from lettuce greens and tomatoes to herbs and flowers. You fill the basin with water and most plants germinate in about two weeks. They’ll keep producing for months if you just regularly keep up with the watering and adding nutrients, which a small display directs you to do every few days. It’s a godsend indoor gardening tool and it takes up less room than a microwave on my kitchen counter.

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In addition to my ever growing Aerogarden obsession, my windowsills are full of planters from Back to the Roots. Less industrial but equally as hands off and easy to use, my Self-Watering Planter is responsible for providing me with regular handfuls of organic cherry tomatoes to inhale. I only have to water it once a week. And for anyone who’s ever struggled to keep temperamental herbs like basil and cilantro alive for more than a week, the brand’s Garden in a Can pack has upped my herb game significantly.

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I can't say enough about what having regular and immediate access to my own homegrown fresh produce has done for my meals (and my wallet). And knowing I turned my quaint city apartment with only two windows between the living room and kitchen into the prolific space it is today just adds to rewarding feeling of a total garden takeover.