Are you thinking of creating your own urban vegetable garden?
If there is one thing that food shortages amidst the Covid-19 outbreak has taught us, it’s that growing food at home is a good way of having some to eat.
However, what do you do when you live in the city? The answer is, even if you live in an apartment, there is a lot you can do.
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Urban Vegetable Garden Tips
Creative use of space is key to urban gardening.
Take a look around. Do you have a yard?
If not much of a yard, do you have a patio? What about a balcony?
If you have none of the above, don’t worry.
Apartments have windows, and they can make a fine place to plant a garden. See these wall planters that are perfect for smaller spaces.
Which vegetables are Easy?
That depends on the space available. Some vegetables require pollination and therefore have to be outside at least some of the time.
This is where balconies, patios, and small yards come in handy.
However, don’t panic if you don’t have access. Bulbs and herbs can both be planted indoors. If there is a suitably large, sunny space, tubs can be used for root vegetables.
While they do flower, it isn’t as important that they be pollinated.
This is one of the most versatile fruits available. Done properly they can provide enough for salads and sauces all summer.
They can be planted from seed, or you can buy six-packs of them already started.
That is usually the easier course. They will need something to climb, or if you have a place to hang baskets, they can be hung up and the vines will dangle down. See these iron plant hangers which make it easy for you to place your tomatoes in the most obscure places.
It does take a lot of plants to make even one “mess” of beans. However, if there is space and something for them to climb, they taste so much better fresh.
You can buy seeds… or plant great northern beans from the grocery store. The dry beans are basically seeds for green bean plants. Other types of beans can also be grown.
These can spread out from the pot or vine up something such as a trellis. They do require a lot of water, but they are worth it.
If it gets really hot, provide some shade for them as they do not like high heat. Cucumbers can be eaten raw or cooked in a stir fry.
Most squashes can be grown thusly, however, don’t plant them all at the same time as they will cross-pollinate… making zucchumbers.
Most home and garden stores, such as Lowes carry large pots suitable for trees. Olives, avocados, apricot, plum and even apple trees can grow in these pots. The larger the pot, the better for the tree.
Look for dwarf trees, where possible. For those who live far enough south, citrus trees also do well in tree pots.
Most tree nuts will grow, as well. All of the above can be grown in small yards, as well.
Plant what you want to eat
The first garden I planted contained potatoes. I grew up on a farm and ate a lot of homegrown potatoes.
What is bought in the supermarket is bland. They actually do have flavor, and straight from the ground (after washing) into the pot is best.
I planted a lot of trees. I love avocados, apricots, plums, and many other fruits. Then I put in a fairly full garden. The only thing that didn’t do really well was corn because it really needs a bigger plot of land.
Basically, we plant what we want to eat. That’s important for you as well.
What’s the use of growing it if you don’t like eating it?
The only benefit is for barter and that’s supposing someone else is growing stuff you do like. That said, don’t be afraid to try new things.
Timing and seasons
If you find yourself in the US you’ll notice the seasons are varied depending on the state you’re in.
We’ve gardened both in a temperate zone and in an arid zone. We’ve gardened relatively far to the north and much further in the southwest.
There are massive differences in when you can plant, depending on where you live.
Northern states have to pay attention to the growing season.
Many plants should be started indoors in February before planting outside after the last frost. See this beginner’s guide to apartment gardening for more ideas.
For those who can’t or don’t want to grow it from seed themselves, nurseries do that work for you.
However, watch the weather. If a frost is threatened, cover any plants you have out. It could save them.
Mid-tier states have a slightly longer growing season. Some areas have enough time in the growing season for two crops.
However, crops may need extra water, and that includes in the urban garden. If plants are in planters, they can be brought indoors overnight if a frost threatens.
Southern states often do have time for two sets of crops, but there’s a catch. The further south you go, the hotter it gets.
In the southwest, the heat is dry. With a few exceptions, crops should be grown in the spring and the fall.
They will still need to be watered, but the weather starts to cool down enough by the end of September and it’s usually warm enough by the end of March.
Choosing a location
For some, there isn’t a lot of choices; however, it does come in handy if there is at least some. Most plants need a good start in life with some decent potting soil and some plants need shade or partial shade.
Others need full sun.
In a yard, the building, any fences, and any trees provide shade.
In a patio, depending on which way it faces, shade may have to be provided by a canopy or sun umbrella.
Shopping list for beginners:
- Heirloom Seeds: This set of NON-GMO Will enable you to quickly get started.
- Garden claw (for yards)
- Trowel set (with small garden claw)
- Work gloves
- Steel Hoe (for yards)
- Shovel (something rust-resistant and sturdy
- Water hose with adjustable spray nozzle
- Plant boxes/planters (for both yard and patio)
- Organic fertilizer For more nutritious and tasty vegetables
- Organic plant food To deliver high performance results
- Watering can
- Potting soil (for patio)
- Gardening Stool (for older folks or those with problems getting up off of the ground)
- Green recycling barrel For all recycling needs
Having an urban garden may have a few difficulties, no matter where you live. However, it is highly possible and exceedingly pleasurable.
Urban Vegetable Garden Tips
Gardening can help relieve stress, get exercise, and generally improve the wellbeing of the entire family.
Introducing people to the taste of what really fresh food is about is even more satisfying.
As mentioned, we did try to grow corn and there was enough for us to eat some. Once they got used to it being “crunchy and sweet” it was enjoyed by all.
We strongly encourage you to grow at least some of your own food. It is truly worth the effort.
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