Urban Gardening is growing vegetables, fruits, and other food items in urban environments. Considering the era that we are living in, growing our own food can be an excellent solution for various reasons, be it personal or business use. Not all people have the blessing of a green thumb, and even for those who have that luxury, there can be different burdens limiting their desire for a green garden. But, nothing is impossible if you give a proper shot at it, and the same applies to urban gardening as well. If this situation sounds like yours’ this piece would do wonders for you. With that being said, let’s see what we got for you today.
What is urban gardening?
In the simplest of forms, urban gardening is converting the space left on your premises to edible green gardens. Yes, we know this may sound a lot easier said than done, and that’s why we thought of bringing a comprehensive article on this matter. There are many ways in urban gardening like Hydroponics, urban greenhouses, vertical gardens, Aeroponics, and portable greenhouses. The method or the technique you use heavily depends on the available space and your requirement.
There is nothing complicated definitions associated with urban gardening; if you are living in a city and you grow plants in your home space, be it on the roof, in the kitchen, or outside then you are doing urban gardening, and you are an urban gardener. In order to bring some clarity to the matter, let’s briefly discuss some of the methods you can try.
Urban gardening methods
Hydroponics is a popular and effective way of growing your own food in a limited space. In Hydroponics, you don’t require soil for the growth of the plants; instead, planters feed nutrient-rich water in an enclosed environment via the roots to the plants. The weather conditions, soil, and most of the elements related to outdoor cultivation are out of the equation, and usually, the yields are considerably big compared to traditional growing methods. The main downfall of this technique is that it requires a certain amount of knowledge to start with, as the system works quite oppositely to the usual planting methods.
Aeroponics doesn’t require even soil or water to grow plants; it sounds strange, isn’t it? In this method, plants grow in vertically hanging planting pots, and nutrient-rich mist is supplied to the roots as food to the plants. This horticulture technique is ideal for people who have little to no space for cultivation, and usually, all the process happens indoors. Similar to Hydroponics, you must know the techniques adequately in order to prosper with it. The slightest mistake can make all your efforts go in vain, and you must keep a close eye on the plants and the supply of mist.
As the name suggests, this is where you grow plants in containers, and you can implement this system for both indoors as well as outdoors. You can place the containers wherever you like, even on a rooftop or a patio. Container gardening allows you to try a wide array of fruits and veggie, and usually, people grow beautiful miniature plants and bonsai trees in this urban gardening method. However, the climate, water, soil do play a part in this unlike Hydroponics and Aeroponics.
Small greenhouse gardening
This is where you grow in an enclosed transparent building providing necessary supplements to the plants. There are various techniques in the greenhouse concept, and small greenhouses are widely popular all across the globe as an urban gardening practice. Since the plants grow in a covered site, growers always have control over the process. Having yearlong harvests irrespective of the weather conditions is one of the significant benefits they receive through small greenhouses.
Note that people use many different urban gardening methods according to the resources they have. Let’s talk about the pros and cons of urban gardening.
Pros of urban gardening
Organic and safe food
It’s the first benefit that hits the mind when talking about urban gardening. Yes, you know how you made the foods that are on your table and how safe they are to eat. Nowadays, some planters use different tricks to get quick and enhanced yields, which can be harmful to the human body in the long run. If you can grow your stuff under your eyes, you can throw this caution to the winds with a great amount of confidence. On the other hand, you will gradually begin to replace the injurious processed food with healthy organic foods, which can keep you safe from countless unwanted health issues.
Urban gardening can come in handy to save money you spend on the food, and once you get used to one or a few methods, it would definitely be going to cut down the growing costs as well. It can also help you fetch considerable side cash if you grow plants as a small business at your premises. Usually, you will be the owner and farmer, and there will be no third-party involvement. The income you bring to your household is sustainable, and it helps increase the value of your land.
If you read the urban gardening methods we mentioned above, you would notice that mostly the control of the process is in your hands. This means, in most of the techniques used in urban gardens, the weather is not a factor to consider. Also, the soil, watering, and maintenance is a less hassle, and the growth of the plants always happens as you want and plan. Small business owners (farmers) use this to their advantage in supplying food products to the market at the correct time. Since the conditions are irrelevant, you can enjoy some season products throughout the year.
Low maintenance and cost
Typically, there will be fewer weeding issues comes with urban gardening, and watering the plants is not that much painstaking work. In options like Hydroponics, all you have to do is switch on the water pump, and plants take care of themselves without much of an issue. Pests barely have chances to ruin your plants, which can help you cut down the costs related, and you don’t have to use harmful pesticides.
Many urban gardening techniques help get the maximum use of storm water by absorbing more water to the ground. Simply, having a green garden is beneficial to improve the air quality and mitigate increasing heat levels. Actually, it’s a no-brainer explaining the benefits of keeping the environment green instead of concrete.
Cons of urban gardening
Lack of space has always been a barrier for people to execute farming plans. As we stated at the beginning, it would be difficult to flourish with your green thumb hugely because of the limited space. However, there are smart growing systems available for you to get maximum yields, but, mostly it won’t provide the cushion for a small business.
In certain parts, governments might see that cultivation is not the most lucrative use of land in a densely populated area. You can’t expect much help from the governing body, especially if you intend a farming business.
Soil plays a massive role in urban gardening (except for Hydroponics), and finding suitable soil for the plants can be a daunting task. Modern-day cities usually carry contaminated soil, and the only option you might have is to buy soil from another place. This can be a high-cost work, and you are not guaranteed high yields as well.
Yes, we wanted to add this as a con as in most urban places, it’s not easy to get water for the plants. Even water is a precious thing in some areas, and most often it will increase your water bill. But, this issue can be eliminated if you use water recycling urban gardening methods such as Aquaponics, Aeroponics, or Hydroponics.
Urban communities consist of different cultural and racial groups. So, in some cases, it won’t be easy to convince your neighbor on what you are doing, and working closely with some can obviously create conflicts. Having a thorough understanding of the area you live in and the people who are around you is important to keep these clashes at bay. Further, there could be competition for the available resources also, if you happen to grow stuff for business purposes, your journey might not be easy as you think.
Now you know the advantages and disadvantages of urban gardening and some of the methods you can try. But, we still didn’t answer how to make an urban garden, right? We will guide you through step by step to an easy urban green garden.
Super-easy steps for an urban garden
In order to ease your process, we have decided to bring everything from scratch.
Step 1: Select the place.
First of all, you will have to decide where you are going to grow the plants; on a rooftop, outdoor, or indoor likewise. Even though you have bigger plans for a bigger garden, the limited space you have might not provide you the comfort. Also, you must decide how your plants get adequate sunlight and water. Basically, what we are saying is, your choice of the area must be well-equipped to grant everything plants expect from you.
Step 2: Choose of pots/containers
In this guide, we are considering gardening pots instead of beds, and you must choose ideal containers depending on the plants you grow. Figure out whether you expect one or multiple plants in one container, and if you are dealing with limited space, you can even grow different plants in one pot. As an example, you can consider growing taller plants like tomatoes and shorter ones like basil in one container. This will save you considerable space, and obviously, you will get two different harvests from one container. Further, there are various sorts of plant containers such as hanging pots and trellises; take all these to your consideration and advantage.
Pots are helpful for easy mobility, and it will make sure your plants get sufficient sunlight; also, no annoying weeds. Referring all these benefits, pot-planting is the best urban gardening method we suggest for the newbies.
Step 3: Plant selection
Now, this is where most people go wrong; we insist you start from few plants since we don’t want you seeing give up at the very beginning. And, overcrowding means you have to pay attention to more plants; Start small and see how they flourish. Also, it would be best if you select plants that produce harvest instead of aesthetic ones. Moreover, you have to be realistic about the space you have and the knowledge you have on the selected plant/s. Yes, it should be pleasing to the eyes, and at the same time, it should give us something to consume. It’s our vision.
Step 3: planting
You just can’t use any soil for the planting, and it must contain appropriate fertilizers for the selected plants. You will need to grab potting soil in the first place and mix organic fertilizers. Another important thing is that your pots must have holes underneath for a proper drainage system. Overwatering is very common mistake rookies do; so, this will help your plants get only the necessary amount of water. When it comes to planting, you can go with seeds or sprouted ones; if you are confident about your green thumb, you can start from zero with seeds. However, it would take some time for you to see the results, and of course, you can consider sprouted plants. The decision is always yours.
Step 4: watering
Watering is an art to master; actually, rookies do require sufficient time to get used to it. In the beginning, there are chances of over and under watering; you will have to monitor the plants very closely to figure out whether they received adequate water or not. However, there are contemporary water systems available in the market to keep plants hydrated throughout the day. For now, it’s all about learning the trade and starting small. From here onwards, it’s all about having fun with your urban gardening!
Urban gardening mistakes you should avoid
Do not put plants too close to another
Yes, we know you want more plants in the limited space you have; but, your babies grow big over time, and they must get sufficient airflow and sunlight. Further, if one plant catches a disease, growing too close will encourage it to spread to closer ones as well.
Think, what is the purpose of having an urban garden? In our perspective, it’s to have some sort of a harvest. Unfortunately, we have seen people, especially the rookies, don’t pay much attention to the fertilizing process after the initial stage. Some plants require fertilizers in various stages until they provide harvest; as an example, tomatoes could face rotten bottom sides if they don’t receive sufficient calcium. So, learn about it every day to avoid such mistakes.
Small containers for bigger plants
As we said, your plants must have sufficient space to grow up to their potential, and your choice of container could be a hurdle if you happen to select a small one. If you see roots are pouring out of the container, it is an indicator that your plant is crying for space, and you must facilitate it with a bigger container ASAP.
Uninvited guests like weeds are a common issue all the planters face, yes, it may not be an issue for the container planted ones, but overall, this is an annoying problem for most urban gardeners. You must get rid of the weeds as soon as possible; else, they will eat out all the fertilizers and water you provide the plants.
So, guys, it’s a wrap from us, and we hope now you know all of the basics about urban gardening. The purpose of this article was to motivate you towards a greener world, and we think you will take the necessary steps right after you finish reading. Nowadays, you cannot provide excuses if you really want to grow your own stuff as there are loads of methods available for you to get the maximum out of the space with minimal effort. That’s the exact message we wanted to deliver. Have a great day, cheers!