Friday, August 13, 2021

Top Tips for Gardening as a Renter

Are you looking to start a vegetable garden, but you don't own the land, house, or apartment you live in? Gardening can be tough if you don't own the land under your feet, but it doesn't mean that you can't garden. I have been renting for the past decade and have maintained a garden in one form or another. Below I will share with you my top tips for gardening while renting.

Tip #1) Understand your lease agreement

(note the below advice is for entertainment only. Please consult a lawyer for any legal advice)

When you sign your lease with your landlord, be sure to read it carefully. Your landlord may not even allow you to grow a garden! Sometimes there will be clauses that limit the use of certain gardening tool or objects, like fertilizer. Most of the time these clauses are thrown in your rental agreement if the landlord already has a garden or other improvement on the property he/she does not want to be modified.

The next part of this tip is to know the terms of duration. Will you have to renew your lease in the middle of the growing season? Are you month to month and could potentially have to move everything mid spring? I've had to pack up everything in the middle of the growing season multiple times due to leases expiring or rental agreements being terminated, so beware of this when you have a garden.

Tip #2) Beware of making improvements to the property

This corresponds with the last tip; your landlord may not allow you to make improvements as part of your lease agreement. Or if you did make improvements, your landlord could get upset. Please check beforehand. In addition, your landlord could see these improvements as an excuse to raise your rent due to the increase in property value you have made. A final note, you may not be reimbursed for making said improvements. Anything you improve upon the property should be seen as a sunk cost.

Tip #3) Be mindful of what you plant and how you garden

If you plant something like mint, that will never go away even after you move out. That could be something the landlord could ding your security deposit for. Other plants could attract unwanted critters. Like if you grow catnip, you could lure cats to your yard. If you grow something that attracts insects, you will get insects in your yard. Some can be beneficial pollinators, but you could also draw in pests, like wasps.

Some plants could be not allowed by the HOA. I once lived in a place that didn't allow residents to grow tomatoes. Why? I have no idea. If you can think of a reason why they would be outlawed, please leave me a comment below.

The last note in this tip, if you are growing indoors, landlord may see increase in electric bill or suspect you are growing something illegal. So be wary of this.

Tip #4) Keep things small and portable

Anything planted in the ground isn't coming with you when you have to move, especially if your lease gets terminated in the middle of the growing season. The bigger your garden becomes, the more plants you will have to carry with you when you move.

Tip #5) Figure out a strategy for watering when you are away from home

When you have a garden, especially a container garden, you have to be providing regular water to your plants. Ideally, if you can rig up a sprinkler system for your plants, that would be ideal. If not, a housemate or neighbor may be able to help you here.

Tip #6) Research Community Garden options if you lack space at home

A community garden is the best option if you are in an apartment or somewhere that does not allow you to garden. Check with your community to see what's available to you.

Tip #7) Gardening is a commitment of its own to your plants

If you are going to start a garden, you have to be committed to keeping your plants alive. Like a dog or cat, plants are living things that need attention. With proper attention to your plants, you will have a thriving and beautiful garden.

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