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What does Earth have that other planets do not? To start, Earth is the only planet with intelligent life (we think), and the only planet not named for a Roman or Greek God (which is humbling), but it’s also the only planet to get its own day and that’s happening on Saturday, April 22.

An annual tradition since 1970, Earth Day is a great time to increase your sustainable living. To that end, gardening offers a simple solution that helps the environment, promotes healthier food choices, and requires little to no outdoor space. So, whether you live in an urban heaven, like KB Home’s 72 Townsend luxury condominiums in San Francisco, or in a sprawling two-story home at Summerfield in Taylor, Texas, growing a green thumb is easier than you might think.

No yard space? No problem. Indoor Gardens.

As a Northern Carolina resident with no yard, I’ve often wondered how on Earth (pun intended) I could grow my own garden. Turns out, going green knows no geographic bounds. With even just a small amount of space, you can grow vegetables yourself and save money on groceries. Indoor gardens are a perfect solution for townhome dwellers, like those in an arid climate like, Henderson, Nevada, or for anyone who can’t devote a significant portion of their yard to gardening. Just keep in mind that most vegetables need around 6-8 hours of direct sunlight in order to thrive. Cherry tomatoes, carrots, and peas are some of your best indoor options; with leafy greens, such as lettuce and spinach, requiring the least amount of sunlight. Here are some indoor garden ideas:

  • Container gardening. Window boxes, planter boxes, terrariums, hanging planters, or anything in a container will allow you to turn even a minimal amount of free space into a thriving garden.
  • Balcony/Rooftop Gardens. Be safe before you plant. Your city and/or state may have fire codes against balcony/rooftop gardens so always check to make sure. Also, you’ll need to know how much weight your balcony/rooftop can safely handle. If you get the green light for a balcony/rooftop garden, be mindful of environmental factors that can challenge your plants; things like wind gusts, snow, and freezing temperatures. Homeowners in warmer climates, like the Copper Ranch Villas community in Gilbert, Arizona, will have great weather for a balcony garden.
  • Windowsill gardens. Your kitchen window might be the best place for indoor gardening, with southern-facing windows getting the most intense sunlight. You can also supplement the sun with artificial lighting made specifically for plants.

If you have a large backyard, or a large space anywhere outside, then you’re in luck. Outdoor gardens offer the perfect chance to grow vegetables that require more direct sunlight or need more free space around them in order to thrive. Locations that see a lot of sunny skies, like Phoenix, Arizona, and Winter Garden, Florida, are great places for an outdoor garden. Here are some outdoor garden ideas:

  • Backyard or Patio Gardens. Whether you live in North Carolina or Las Vegas, you’ll want to landscape your garden or patio garden according to your climate, and amount of available space.
  • Community Gardens. Imagine having the chance to socialize with your neighbors while growing your own food and reducing your carbon footprint.

Beyond the Vegetable Garden.

Move aside, tomatoes, you’re not the only garden in town. Here are some fun alternatives to a vegetable garden:

  • Plants. Some indoor plant ideas for spaces that don’t get much direct sunlight include Spider plants, Philodendrons, Mother-in-law’s Tongue (also known as a Snake plant, this one is an air purifier as well), Peace Lily (another air purifier), and Dracaena.
  • Flowering Plants. Some of the easiest flowers to grow are Sunflowers, Zinnias, Marigolds, and Snapdragons. The following flowers will grow with little sunlight, in case you’re considering an indoor garden or your yard gets a lot of shade: Lilies of the Valley, Violas, and Tuberous Begonias.
  • Herbs. Among those herbs easiest to grow indoors are Chives, Mint, Parsley, Thyme, and Oregano. Herbs work well for container gardening and windowsill gardening.
  • Succulents. You’ll find cacti in the succulent family. These plants are known to require little water and sunlight so they’re a perfect choice for the novice gardener or anyone who appreciates a low-maintenance plant.

Never underestimate the power of a garden to turn a house into a home.

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