Resources for growing an urban garden in Indy

Resources for growing an urban garden in Indy - Green Indy Blog

I’m happy to say this is the first year I’ve been able to go wild and start an urban garden in Indy. We don’t have a house (yet), but we do have an apartment with a balcony. When we toured the place late last year, I was pretty much decided once I saw the balcony.

From 2010-2015 I lived in Russian and, up until our tour, I hadn’t realized how much I missed the ubiquity of balconies that I’d been able to enjoy in my apartments over there.

So yes, my husband and I almost immediately pulled the trigger on the balcony apartment.

Sure, we ended up saddled with a north-facing balcony, but we get enough light from being higher up that my plants have seemed perfectly happy so far. I’ve got tomatoes, spinach, lettuce, peas, strawberries, peppers, and a whole host of herbs going so far.

I used the book Small-Space Container Gardens* to provide a lot of the info/inspiration for getting started, but it’s also helpful to consult more local sources for specific growing information in your area!
I bought a few of the terra cotta pots I have, but everything else was either recovered from the trash or rescued from work. I also I made a commitment to grow as much from seed as possible, to minimize the plastic coming into the apartment.

Mostly zero waste urban garden for the win!

As you may be able to tell, my gardens area all about substance over style. Sure, flowers are nice to look at, but I’d 100% prefer my gardening time and energy to go towards things I can stuff in my face later on. (And use in some of my favorite recipes!)

Urban Balcony Garden

Ever since I decided to really make a stab at growing my own food for the season, I wanted to find out the best place to buy seed/plants in Indy.

My requirements weren’t too stringent:

  • Be locally-owned.
  • Be budget-friendly.
  • Have some zero waste options.

Lucky for me, Indianapolis has some great resources for the girl who’s trying to support local while fumbling around with a container garden. I’ve compiled a list of locally-owned nurseries in the Indianapolis area who can make all of your tiny garden dreams come true.

Check out the map below and get started on your very own urban garden in Indy:


I personally prefer Habig and Dammann’s just because they’re closer to my apartment, but all of these options are great! For my zero waste garden, I decided to start almost everything from seed – that got rid of all those pesky plastic starter containers.

I did pick up a few pre-grown plants for my own seedlings that didn’t make it (RIP spinach and tomatoes) but I’m planning to save the plastic containers for growing seedlings next year.

Urban Balcony Garden

Spring events in Indy!

APRIL
19th | Beginning Gardening 1 (Broad Ripple Park): Discussions on Old Wive’s Tales to Dopplar Radar as well as making some simple instrumentation will be part of the workshop. We will also learn more about how to make and best use Rain Barrels. Info here.

23rd | Keeping Chickens with Andrew Brake of Nap Town Chickens (Agrarian): as the Agrarian site promises “You will leave this class with extensive knowledge and ready to start your very own chicken farm”. Info here.

27th & 28th | Dammann’s Famous 10 cent Tomato Plant Sale: Exactly what it sounds like. 10 cent tomato plants – who doesn’t love a great deal?!

29th | Indy Urban Acres Plant Sale: Over 200 varieties of tomatoes, 30 culinary herbs, peppers, broccoli, thousands of bedding flowers, hanging baskets, potted plants, and many more vegetables. Each plant sold supports our mission to provide the healthiest produce possible to food-insecure families in Indianapolis. Info here.

29th | Plant It Forward: Get Involved and Grow: Join the United Way of Central Indiana as they build garden boxes for Flanner Working Farm “Community Garden” at 24th and Martin Luther King streets. Info here.

MAY
3rd | Beginning Gardening #2 (Broad Ripple Park): Container Gardening and Vertical Gardening will present you with alternative solutions in a small space. This two hour workshop will cover what types of plants do well in this situation, basic care of your garden and what problems to watch out for. Info here.

13th | Indiana Native Plant Sale and Auction: a nerve-wracking auction of some of Indiana’s most unique and lovely native plants, the proceeds of which go to INPAWS. Info here.

13th | Small Space Gardening (White Pine Wilderness Academy): You want to have a garden but don’t have the yard space to create one—no problem! Container Gardening and Vertical Gardening will present you with alternative solutions. Info here.

17th | Beginning Gardening #3 (Broad Ripple Park): Discussion on how to create outdoor “rooms” as well as making a few functional and decorative items for you to use in your own outdoor living space. Crafts will include a birdbath and wind chimes. Info here.

Are you creating an urban garden in Indy – or elsewhere? What tips, tricks, or resources do you have to share to make it the best garden ever?

4 thoughts on “Resources for growing an urban garden in Indy”

  1. This map is so helpful! (I mean, I don’t live in Indy, but I still think it’s awesome). Hope your garden grows some good food for ya this year! I need to start mine soon.

  2. I tried growing cilantro once, but I always forgot about it and then the plant died. After living in Russia where, as you know, everyone grows food at their dachas, I want to try it again!

    1. My husband’s family home is so amazing – apple, pear, plum, oblepikha, and cherry trees were all over the place and they always had a little veggie garden.

      I’m considering this mini-balcony garden a trial run for a bigger one like that when we own a home!

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