If you live in a city or have a small space like an apartment or condo, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the benefits of gardening. In fact, anyone can grow an urban vegetable garden, no matter where they live. From fresh veggies to stylish containers, creating your own garden is an extremely fulfilling experience. Read on to discover how you can create a custom vegetable garden and enjoy all the benefits of your hard work.
Why Grow an Urban Vegetable Garden?
Growing your own garden is easy, even if you live in a smaller space since most types of vegetables can easily be grown in containers. You can place your pottery and other containers on balconies, small patios, and even on rooftops. Another perk to growing this type of garden is that it’s easy to maintain and doesn’t require a lot of fertile land. Those with physical disabilities can also benefit from these gardens since they don’t require you to squat or get down onto the ground. Whether you live in a place with no backyard or you’re concerned about the typical physically demanding tasks of growing a garden, this option is a fantastic way to enjoy the practice of gardening at home. Not only is growing your garden fun, but urban gardeners normally don’t need to worry about pests that could ravage the garden like rabbits, deer, and squirrels.
Tips for Growing Your Garden
Before you buy seeds or plot your urban vegetable garden, there are a few important things to keep in mind. These tips can ensure that your plants grow in a healthy way so you can harvest and enjoy every veggie you grow. Here are some key takeaways that every urban gardener should remember:
It’s important that you choose the appropriate container for each specific vegetable. For example, root vegetables like potatoes or squash require deep containers. Try to find the largest containers possible since it will encourage healthy growth and prevent your vegetables from becoming rootbound.
Check to make sure that your vegetables are getting the proper amount of sunlight. If you live in a high-rise building or a city full of skyscrapers, other buildings may block some of the sunlight plants need to stay healthy. Tomatoes are one example of a vegetable that requires lots of natural sunlight in order to flourish.
Soil & Fertilizer
Always use the appropriate type of soil and fertilizer. Choose a granular organic fertilizer and add it to your soil when you plant the vegetables. Most soil used in container gardening has very few nutrients, so your plants rely on fertilizer to supplement them with the nutrients they need to stay healthy. After you plant them, feed your vegetables weekly using a water-soluble fertilizer for the best results.
You can combine several plants in one container if they have similar sun, soil, and watering needs. Certain combinations like beans with onions and garlic, carrots with dill or fennel, and tomatoes or squash with potatoes should be avoided. That’s because these vegetables may compete for the same nutrients or one of the plant’s roots might overtake the other. A few great starter veggies include kale, peas, radishes, and zucchini which are all fairly easy to grow.
Make the Most of a Small Space
Even if your growing area seems tiny, there are several ways you can enjoy an urban vegetable garden without having to sacrifice your harvest. If you happen to have a balcony railing, take advantage of it by using it as a trellis for peas and beans. These vegetables grow on a vine, so a metal railing gives them the perfect place to grasp onto. Vertical planters are also ideal if you want to grow things like lettuce and fresh herbs. Create a wall planter that has several separate “pockets” that you can fill with dirt and grow individual vegetables all in one space. You can also grow certain vegetables in a hanging container. Fruits like strawberries and vegetables like cherry tomatoes do especially well in hanging containers.
Pest Control in Your Urban Garden
Just because you live in an urban setting, it doesn’t mean that you won’t end up with pests from time to time. While you might not need to worry about the wildlife that wants to munch on your vegetables, pests like slugs, beetles, and aphids can still attack your plants. If you’re concerned about pest control and don’t want to use chemicals, there are several all-natural ways you can keep these nasty pests at bay. A DIY bug spray known as “horticultural soap” can keep most soft-bodied insects away.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you create your own homemade pest repellant spray:
- Start by choosing a natural liquid soap product that doesn’t contain any synthetic ingredients, such as perfumes and other additives.
- Mix one heavy tablespoon of your soap with one quart of warm water. If you have hard water where you live, avoid using tap water since it can leave buildup on the leaves of your vegetables.
- To repel chewing insects, add a teaspoon of ground red pepper or garlic to the mixture. To remove powdery mildew from your plants, add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar.
- Shake your mixture well before use, and spray your plants as needed. Try not to use the spray on days over 90-degrees Fahrenheit since it could cause phytotoxicity.
Aside from your DIY soap repellant, you can also plant other vegetables that are known to keep pests away. Plants like radishes, onion, and garlic are known for being a natural deterrent to a wide variety of insects.
With some time, patience, and the right containers, you can easily take part in the emerging urban vegetable garden trend that’s sweeping the nation. Don’t forget that food is always better when it’s shared, so be sure to check with your neighbors and give them some of your crops to enjoy. Get creative with new recipes that incorporate your plants into the dish and you’ll see just how amazing having your very own vegetable garden can be.