Think gardening is reserved for rural and suburban communities? Well, think again! As long as you have water and light, joining the urban gardening movement is easy. Don’t let city or metropolitan living stop you from experiencing how rewarding gardening can be!
Want to garden but don’t have soil to plant in or space for raised beds? If so, container gardening is perfect for you. Container gardening, or pot gardening, requires little space, making it ideal for urban environments. While many plants flourish in containers, some types are more suitable than others. Check out this article to find out the best vegetables to grow in containers. Whether your vegetables are grown in the ground or in a container, they need at least six hours of sunlight per day. This may be difficult to achieve in an urban setting, which is why using caddies or casters is recommended. This way, containers can be moved during the day or later in the season as the angle of the sun changes.
Finding the right fertilizer is essential to the growth of plants. When plants are not rooted in the ground, like with container gardening, it’s crucial. Every time you water, nutrients are washed away from the soil, making it very difficult to add the nutrients back. Filling containers with soil from the ground or bagged topsoil are not advised. Instead, fill the containers with a “soilless” potting mix that will absorb moisture and withstand compaction. Then, mix in a liberal amount of granular organic fertilizer. And if you have some, add in a shovelful of compost.
Providing a consistent supply of water is vital to the success of your garden. This is especially relevant in rapidly growing urban areas where water has become a fragile and scarce resource. While hand watering is still a viable option, self-watering planters are a great way to ensure your plants are getting the correct amount of water. Self-watering planters force plants to absorb moisture as they need it, which is a good way to conserve water while also combating the moisture problems that often come with container gardening. Also, consider saving water by harvesting your rain with a rain barrel. Here’s an article that shows you how to make one yourself!
Know your Microclimate Conditions
If you’ve gardened before, you may be familiar with hardiness zones and frost dates. These factors determine when and what to plant according to the general area where you live. While they are extremely helpful, they don’t take how conditions differ within the same zone into consideration. Urban environments can be affected by factors that rarely affect rural or suburban gardens like the number of paved surfaces such as roads and parking lots, buildings, acid rain and more. Because of this, urban areas often deviate from zone predictions, making it vital to know your microclimate conditions.
Urban farming is quickly adapting to find innovative ways to grow plants with limited space and resources. For many, the solution is a method of soilless gardening known as hydroponics. In hydroponic gardening, plants absorb their nutrients through water and light through low energy LED lighting. This allows plants to be grown year-round and have significantly higher yields. In addition, it requires less water and labor than traditional gardens. Hydroponic systems can be assembled relatively cheaply and are easy-to-use. Learn to build your own, using these articles.
With increased access to fresh foods and improved mental and physical health, it’s not hard to understand why community gardens are gaining in popularity. Discover the many benefits for yourself by joining or starting a community garden today. If you’re located in the Durham area, check out Seeds for workshops, volunteer opportunities, summer camps, and after-school activities.
Looking to get involved? Meet farmers and local vendors, search for events, programs and more at Raleigh City Farm’s website!