Growing Flowers and Vegetables in Small Spaces

offered by Barber Knolls Apartments where every apartment includes free garden space

2 bedroom aaprtment, Barberton, Ohio, Beacon's Best third place winner, garden friendly apartments for rent, laundromat on site, laundry hookups available

Apartment life does not preclude gardening. Many plants thrive in a small garden plot or container. Flowers, small bushes, herbs and many vegetables will thrive in apartment gardens to beautify your outdoor living space or feed your family.

Each apartment for rent at the Barber Knolls Apartments in Barberton, Ohio includes space for a small garden. If you choose to use this space please let our staff know so that they don't over plant or weed an area you are cultivating. Because not all residents choose to garden, it's important that our staff know which plots are in our care and which are in the care of residents

We hope that these gardening tips will help you get started to create a garden that will bring joy and beauty to your home at Barber Knolls Apartments.

Types of Plants


These are plants that live only one season in Ohio. They using die off with the first hard frost as we head into winter. If you plant annuals, you'll need to replant each spring


These plants grow for two seasons. They are usually small the first year with no flowers. The second year they bloom and are much bigger and then, like annuals, they die with the first frost in late fall.


The easiest to care for long term are perennial plants. They will die back in winter then burst to life again in the spring. They do not get a hard woody stem so the garden can be cleaned up in the fall easily. When you have the right perennial for your garden, all you have to do is a little weeding.

Companion Plants

Some plants do well together and others don't. By checking gardening lists to learn which plants compliment one another, you can increase the odds of a successful garden.  You can learn more about companion plants at  National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service.

Herb Gardens

Herbs are most often used for seasoning in cooking. Fresh herbs are much more flavorful than the dried herbs you can buy at the grocery and once you start cooking with fresh herbs, you'll be hooked forever. Not only does it save a lot of money to grow your own, the difference in flavor is astounding.

Herbs that are easy to grow from seed include sweet basil (deer resistant), chives (hardy perennial, deer resistant), sweet marjoram (annual), mint (hardy perennial), sage (hardy perennial), summer savory (annual), sesame, and thyme (hardy perennial).
tutorial on growing basil that shows how very easy it is to have fresh basil (deer resistant) in your garden. There are over 40 varieties of basil. It comes in several colors and many interesting fragrances like lemon, anise and cinnamon. It's said to have some healing properties as well. Cooking with basil offers many options and it is easily grown inside or frozen for later use. 


Flowers can brighten any space and whether your garden is in full sun or full shade, there are plants that will delight gardeners, new and old. Be sure to read the seed packet or instructions before you purchase seeds or plants to be sure the light in your garden will support the plants you want to grow. Remember, perennial plants are the gift that keeps giving, they'll comeback every year with little encouragement.

Shade Loving Perennials

Hosta (there's a lot of hosta around Barber Knolls, blooms late summer)
Crested Iris (shade tolerant, alsogrows in sun, with extra watering)
Lady's Mantle
Viola (tiny flowers in spring, some in fall as well, this is a cool weather plant)
Bleeding Heart (comes in both pink and white, spring blooming)
Coral Bells
Lily of the Valley

Shade Loving Annuals

Impatiens (can be difficult to start from seed but easy from flats, great in containers)
Nicotaina (some are fragrant only at night, attracts hummingbirds)

Sun Loving Perennials

Black Eyed Susans
Coneflower (pink and white, easy to start from seed)
Tulips (deer love them)
Daffodils (deer resistant)
Bee Balm ( a member of the mint family, attracts hummingbirds and butterflies, deer resistant)
Day Lilies
Stella d'Oro lilies

Sun Loving Annuals

Zinnias (great as cut flowers)
Straw flower (great as cut flower or dried flowers, reseed themselves fairly well)
Alyssum (often reseeds itself for the next season)
Petunia (easiest to start with nursery plants)
Nasturtium (loves poor soil, blossoms and leaves can be used like herbs, deer resistant)

Vegetables: Tomatoes, Beans, Peas, Peppers, Tomato Gardening Tips.

Leaf lettuce, romaine, butterhead and crisphead lettuce

Lettuce is surprisingly easy to grow. Most varieties can be planted as soon in the spring as the soil is dry enough to rake. Plant successive plantings about 2 weeks apart to extend your harvest. Lettuce likes coolness, so planting in an area that gets some shade will help lettuce survive very hot summer days. If you don't have a semi-shady area, find a heat tolerant varieties (usually the leaf lettuce). Leaf lettuce is easier to grow than head lettuce.

Peppers:sweet bell peppers, banana, cherry, jalapeno, habeneros

Peppers are difficult to start from seed so novices are advised to begin with nursery plants. You can often find starts at your local grocery or hardware store at the right time for planing in Ohio.

All varieties of peppers require full sun. They like hot weather and moist but not wet soil. Growing peppers isn't too difficult and the with the results you can enhance salads or make your own hot salsa. Just be careful you don't plant sweet peppers too close to hot peppers.

Snap beans, French beans, wax beans, snow peas, sugar peas

In Ohio, peas planted in early spring can be ready to eat by June 10. Snap beans planted in May or June can be harvested by late June and can produce beans through mid-October. Seeds are often planted a few at a time, spacing a week or so apart to lengthen the harvest time.

Container Gardens

Containers are a great way to garden if you want to be able to move your plants, plan to bring them in during the winter or need to keep them away from critters. Ohio State University has recommendations for growing cucumbers, peppers, squash and tomatoes in container gardens. It's easier than you'd imagine! It's more work getting started that a traditional, "in the dirt" garden but the results are still pleasing.

Controlling deer and rabbits

Visit the University of Minnesota site for a list of plants that discourage deer and rabbits(often eats the same plants as deer).  Also see Deer Proof Garden for a more options. Possibly the easiest control for deer is the use of Milorganite, which is a fertilizer. With one product you can fertilize your garden and repel deer.

All information on this website is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.