The Green Thumb: Dorm Room Edition

The Green Thumb: Dorm Room Edition

When your “home” is a cement block, white-walled dorm room with one window (south facing if you are lucky), gardening and interior design may be the last thing on your mind. As college students, we are adults now (or close enough) and it is time to extend ourselves into the foray of home and gardens. In case you haven’t noticed, spring has sprung, and it is time to face down that shabby Dupringle. With a little effort and a bit of dirt, anyone can make autotrophs feel at home and add a little photosynthesis to their living space. So here are my top ways to add some green to your college “home.”


  1. Adopt a potted plant. If you have little sunlight and are prone to forgetting to water your new “pet” some of the most durable plants are the Peace Lily, Aloe Vera, Christmas Cactus and Jades.

  2. Get a terrarium. If you are really lazy go for the terrarium. They can be anything from a simple plant to a tiny complex ecosystem even involving bugs or snails. The best part is, since they are closed systems (ie. they have a lid) and terrariums rarely need to be watered. Just leave your glass jar or other pretty vesicle in a sunny windowsill and watch your tiny garden grow.

  3. Rock garden. Ok, while this is not exactly green in the literal sense, it can add some serious zen to your place. Feeling stressed during finals? Gently use a tiny rake to smooth out patterns in fine sand around glistening rocks. You think I am joking? Don’t knock it ‘till you try it.

  4. Grow sprouts! I recently experimented with a store bought “sprouter” that claimed to produce fresh sprouts in just 2-4 days. While in actuality it took more like a week, it did produce deliciously (… um sprouty?) tasting sprouts. These aquaponic systems (meaning no soil is involved, only water filtering through layers of plants) are cheap and only require a sunny spot and watering twice a day. P.S. Sprouters are available at Whole Foods for around $15 and a packet of seeds, which produces around six batches of sprouts, costs $5.

  5. Cultivate an herb garden! Who doesn’t like basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and the like? Beginners can cheat by buying a starter potted herb plant, but if you are up for a bit more of a challenge you can start them from seeds. If, like those of us in the veggie co-op, you have an abundance of empty egg cartons around, plant individual seeds between layers of packed potting soil in each slot. Once again the plants will need sunny spot and daily watering, but you will get to reap the benefits of fresh herbs at your fingertips.

P.S. Seriously, if you want any egg cartons, stop by the Veggie Co-op anytime.