Urban gardening is something few consider to be an important and worthwhile endeavor. Two thoughts come to my mind on this – perhaps they should reconsider, so they could enjoy the benefits, and then again, maybe it's better that way ... as an unguarded secret that can really benefit anyone who tries their hand at it. That's one of the good things about gardening – it's for everyone, from the completely inexperienced to the expert gardener, and urban gardening is perfect for those who live in the suburbs, too, not strictly for urban areas.
If you want to try urban gardening, I want you to know that there are no right or wrong ways to do things. There are obviously ways that work better than others, but it’s your preferences that will be the key to finding what methods will be the best for in your own little slice of gardening heaven.
Because you may find space to be the hardest thing to come by for your gardening needs, you may find that building up works well for you. Similar to a greenhouse, you could create a row of shelves to hold potted plants along a natural border on your property or a lower shelf with much taller plants planted behind that.
You can also use part of your home's stairway, between the porch and walkway, alongside the walkway, in areas below windows (which can help prevent peeping-toms, as well) on the ground (containers) or window boxes, tractor tires for in the center of a yard, or other larger area, and even hanging baskets.
Another thing you could do is re-purpose a sandbox your children have outgrown. Traditionally, vegetable gardens are placed in the back of the house, and flower gardens are created in the front and sides of a home, but you are always free to do this however you want. Make it fun and unique!
If you’re one of those unlucky folks without any available space to start your garden, check out the YardYum listings to see if there’s a plot nearby.
What to Plant
Plants don't have to be edible to make it into a garden (but of course that’s a great bonus!). But perhaps you didn’t know that many flowers have edible parts! You should always check, though, to make sure you are growing the right kind of flowers before adding them to a salad or eating them directly from the garden. A mix of vegetables, fruits, and flowers can also be created that will keep pests to a minimum and also help to create a better soil mix.
Companion planting is a very good way to bring variety to your garden and at the same time not benefit some plants at the expense of other plants. It can also make a place seem rich with color and many different textures, giving it a vibrant feeling that has been absent for a long time. Whatever you plant, it's an excellent idea to take notes about how well it grew, anything you added to the soil, the amount of sun and shade it received, what it was next to, and so on.
Extra Locations Beyond Home
You also don't have to settle for a garden at your home only. If you own a business or get the go-ahead from your boss, you could have one at work, too. Many places have inner courtyards that are great places to create small gardens in. Just be aware that if your building is more than a few stories tall, the courtyard might not receive enough sunlight to grow sun-loving plants as well as you'd like. Choose other types of plants that need less sun or lots of shade for areas like this.
There are also gardening groups that utilize a large lot for urban gardening, charging those who want to garden a small fee for the use of a smaller plot. If you're just beginning to garden, it's very likely that others with more experience will lend you a hand if you ever need it. The soil will most likely have been prepared with different additives to ensure that it's rich enough to grow plants optimally, but it's a good idea to always ask. Just have a list of which ones you are going to plant and ask them to mark the ones that might not do as well as the others. If you're new to gardening, you should concentrate your efforts on learning the techniques, while keeping frustration and disappointment down. This will help you enjoy your yield much better!
Urban Gardening is for Everyone
Urban gardening is something that all children, including toddlers, can enjoy. Grandparents have the experience to teach youngsters something that might not seem exciting, but if the kids get to see their own plants growing from week-to-week when they return to visit, they might soon want their own small garden at home. Learning how to grow something you can eat is a very important part of growing up and being able to take care of one's self ... even if it's just a bunch of carrots or a couple of heads of lettuce.
If you haven't heard, YardYum helps connect land owners with gardeners. So if you don't have space for your own garden, sign up for YardYum and look for available plots nearby.
Now get out there and start gardening :)
Kane Miller from YardYum
Kane has a background in engineering, but now focuses on environmental sustainability. He grew up on a 12-acre hobby farm and was fortunate to have been introduced to organic gardening at a young age.