Living in the city doesn’t mean you can’t grow some of your own food. Even if you have no garden at all, think of balconies, windowsills, apartment rooftops or community gardens. They are all potential urban gardens.
What are the benefits of urban gardening
The effort and initial small investment of money and time will pay off in many ways.
Fresher and better tasting food – food is picked and eaten straight so it doesn’t lose the nutrients
Healthier food – eating fresh and organic gives you peace of mind that no chemicals are present, even if it’s just a few herbs it’s a step forward
Kinder to the environment – no petrol used to transport the food to the shops, no need to hop in the car for it and no soil is harmed by organic gardening practices
Saves money – almost “free” compared to organic food from shops
Educational – kids can learn so much from growing an organic garden (adults too!) and food is more appreciated and less wasted
Plants suitable for small urban gardens or containers
Herbs – the easiest to start with. The taste of freshly picked herbs is incomparable to the shop-bought that traveled long distances and spent days in the refrigerators. Herbs grow happily in containers or in the garden bed. Plant seedlings from the local garden center or directly from seeds – which is more economical.
Choose the herbs you use most in cooking. Popular are parsley, chives, coriander, basil, thyme, mint. Some herbs such as mint, sage, thyme or lemongrass make wonderful herbal teas. Pick regularly as it promotes new young shoots and delays flowering.
Vegetables – lettuce leaves, tomatoes and chilies are all pot-loving veggies. Plant them in a container filled with quality potting mix that has at least one hole for drainage. You can mix veggies with herbs and the best example of companion growing is a tomato-basil combination.
For a small urban garden or raised bed choose varieties that don’t use a lot of space. Spring onions, radishes, spinach, silverbeet (chard), garlic, leek, climbing beans, carrots, tomatoes and lettuces are crops that use limited garden space efficiently. Ask at your local nursery or garden shop if in doubt.
Fruit – my favorites are strawberries! Easy to grow in the hanging baskets, pots or in the garden, the taste of homegrown is sensational. Other fruits easily grown in pots are lemons, mandarins, dwarf apples and pears, figs and others.
What are the types of urban gardening
If the benefits of urban gardening sound appealing to you, then you should start planning out your urban garden today.
Begin with few pots of herbs and in no time you will be expanding to veggies and fruit. Check our Glossary of Gardening Terms and familiarize yourself with the terminology. Go to the local nursery, grab a book on gardening and watch a TV gardening program or simply search on the internet for inspiration. Involve the whole family and/or friends.
Gardening, be it on a small or large scale is very rewarding and so much fun!