How to start an urban garden
Small Space, Big Yield - Starting Your First Urban Garden
An urban garden is a garden on the roof of a high rise, in the tiny backyards of city homes or on a city balcony. Having an urban garden of your own may be the best way – or even the only way – for you to obtain fresh produce that is organic at the lowest possible cost.
There's no reason you can't have good, nutritious organic vegetables just because you live in the city. It doesn't matter which city you live in, either, you can still have a very high quality urban garden – even if you don't have any yard at all. I'm going to show you exactly how to go about starting your own urban garden so you can enjoy fresh quality vegetables in any city setting.
To start an urban garden it's not necessary for you to have a large yard or an acre of land in the country. There are all kinds of solutions to not having much space (or not having any space at all) in the city that you live in: planting in a community garden, creating a rooftop garden, or even using vertical gardens, are all solutions used in urban areas. The simplest solution, however, is to start a container garden which you can use inside or outdoors.
The majority of vegetables that you will grow in your garden are going to require six hours of full sun each day. If you don't get that much sun anywhere on your property, fret not. You can supplement the sunlight with grow lights, use wheels on your containers so that you can move them around during the day, or just be selective about the vegetables you're going to grow and be sure that they will work well in the area you live in.
Once you know where you're going to plant your garden, the next step is to pick which vegetables you're going to grow in your garden. Of course, it only makes sense to grow vegetables that your family likes to eat. Just because eggplant would grow great in your area, it makes no sense to grow that if no one in your household likes it enough to eat it. There are a number of vegetables that will continue to grow throughout the season even after you've cut them back to use them. One popular example is kale, which has grown in popularity greatly since the organic boom.
After you decide which vegetables you're going to grow, the next step is to plant them in the containers. Here are a few tips that will make sure you have a thriving garden:
1. You need to make sure that your containers have sufficient drainage. If your containers do not drain well, the roots of the plants in them can rot causing the plants to die. Make sure that the pots you use have big enough holes to allow all excess water to drain out. It's astounding how many pots you can buy from stores that are supposedly used for container gardening but don't have a large enough hole for proper drainage, so be sure to use quality container gardening pots.
2. Use the right kind of soil. Pulling the dirt from your backyard probably isn't going to cut it in container gardening. You need soil that is designed to hold moisture and not dry out as quickly as what is likely in your backyard. It's recommended that you buy potting compost from a nursery or other garden centre.
3. Failure to fertilize your urban garden will prevent you from getting much yield. All plants need food, and you need to provide that food in the form of fertilizer. The easiest way to do this is to mix in some slow release fertilizer with the soil you're using before you put the plants in the containers.
4. To save time, rather than planting seeds you can buy seedlings from a garden centre that have already sprouted. This is especially useful if you are a new gardener and are not experienced with growing vegetables from seeds. Successfully growing vegetables from seedlings is perfectly respectable, and will encourage you so that in the future you may try your hand at growing the plants directly from the seeds.
5. Overwatering can kill your plants. One of the biggest mistakes that new gardeners make is watering the plants too much. It's understandable that you want to make sure your vegetables get enough water, but overwatering is one of the fastest ways to actually hurt or kill the plants in your new container garden. Just make sure that the soil is moist. Not wet, just a little damp. A good rule of thumb is to stick your finger into the soil down to the second knuckle. If the tip of your finger feels dry at that depth, you need to add some water. Just be sure to add the water slowly and make sure that it's getting down to the plants roots.
Growing your own urban garden is very rewarding, and can save you a lot of money on organic produce. Not to mention it's very convenient to be able to pull vegetables directly from your own garden whenever it comes time to cook. Those saved trips to the grocery store, plus the money you save directly from growing your own vegetables, puts more money back into your pocket – which is important when living an expensive urban area. With a little bit of elbow grease, you will become a green thumb in no time.
About the Author : Jonathan Leger is a gardening enthusiast. He runs a small site dedicated to the history, education and care of a variety of roses at cabbageroses.net