Growing veggies in a sectional title complex

You might not have hectares of open land, but a few metres of outdoor space and a sunny spot indoors are all you need to grow your greens.

“Vegetable gardens are becoming a household standard these days. Even in sectional title units it’s not uncommon to find vertical gardens and planters on window ledges,” says regional director and chief executive of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett.

However, Goslett warns people living in sectional title complexes to check the conduct rules issued by the body corporate.

“These rules will outline acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, as well as the general aesthetics of the building and what sorts of renovations are allowed. In certain complexes homeowners and tenants may be prohibited from placing things in front of windows, on window ledges, or hanging things on exterior walls without written consent from the body corporate. If you do not comply with these rules, you can be held liable to fines,” he says.

One way to create your own vegetable garden in a confined space is to buy pots or create wooden planters that you can put on your balcony, outdoor patio, or near a window inside your apartment.

“If you are going to keep your planters indoors, be sure to clean underneath them regularly so they don’t leave stains on the floor, as repair costs will be deducted from your deposit if you are renting the space,” Goslett cautions.

Vertical gardens are another way around the issue. These work best if installed outdoors on a patio or balcony but can also work indoors provided that they get lots of light and good ventilation.

“Tenants would be better off to avoid this option though. Installing a vertical garden indoors will require permission from the landlord as it will require some construction. Instead, tenants can buy hanging planters which they can hang from their curtain rods,” Goslett suggests.

“There is a limit to how much you can grow in a small living space. If you are really keen to keep a vegetable garden, perhaps you should consider moving further outside of your CBD where plots are generally larger and more affordable. What you end up saving on your grocery bill once your garden is ready can then be rerouted into the higher fuel costs of having extended your commute to work,” Goslett says.