I find this subject really interesting, as with a bit of knowledge and patience, almost anyone can create an urban garden. Do you have a small town garden, a courtyard, a patio or even just a balcony? You can honestly, with any of these grow an abundance of your own food, plants or flowers. Plants need 4 basic things, sunlight, a decent growing medium, fertilizing and water. Don’t despair if you don’t get much sunlight, as you can choose the plants accordingly too.
So what is an Urban Garden?
Urban gardening is growing plants of all types and varieties in an urban environment. It includes container gardening, which is common for people with small patios, yards, or balconies. There are lots of benefits to urban gardening. For example the direct health benefit of growing your own fruit and vegetables as well as exercise and a deeper connection to your food.
I wanted to concentrate on urban gardening in a restricted space in this post. So once you have assessed what space you have, and what you would like to grow. It’s then good to look at the options available in terms of the type growing containers.
One of the best ways in my opinion to add an urban garden is with a raised bed. This can be great if you don’t have any soil to place them on, or if like me you have areas of impacted clay soil. Raised beds are fine on sturdy decks or paved surfaces. Don’t limit yourself just to vegetables though, raised bed can be used for any kind of planting.
You can buy them in lots of different, including depths. You can even connect two with a trellis ( have a look at the selection at C & W Berry) or an arbour and plant climbing plants like honeysuckle for smell or vegetables such as tomatoes.
If your only outdoor space is a patio or balcony you most certainly will be growing your plants in containers. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You also need to think about the weight of them once the soil and plant are in though. Try grouping them together to create an eclectic collection. Watering and keeping the plants watered is generally harder when they aren’t in the ground. Try harvesting rainwater if you can. Add water retaining granules too, or consider self-watering planters.
This is a brilliant solution in a small growing space and is gaining popularity especially when people wanting to grow their own food.
Commonly it entails growing plants on a wall with the use of various types of structures which are fixed onto the wall or fence. This type of ‘growing up’ was first widely used by hydroponic growers but it can be used be for plants growing in a potting mixture. A good idea is to have pots under your vertical garden to catch any runoff and achieve even more efficient watering.
Other ways to make use of vertical gardening is to use hanging planters to grow things like strawberries and cherry tomatoes. In fact, any kind of trailing, climbing or creeping plant like cucumbers, pumpkins and herbs can be quite successfully grown in hanging planters. I love the idea of recycling items like the tyre in this image above, giving a garden a true ‘urban’ theme.
Top Expert Tip :
Here’s an urban garden tip from my friend and gardening expert Catherine from Growing Family. A fantastic home and garden blog, Catherine shares ideas, inspiration and tips for busy family life.
Choose wildlife-friendly plants
Wildlife can find it tough in urban areas, where green spaces tend to be limited. Doing your bit to support wildlife in an urban garden can make a big difference, and you’ll also be helping your garden to thrive. When you’re choosing plants, try to include varieties that are attractive to pollinating insects – look for the RHS Plants for Pollinators symbol on the label. You could also introduce some plants that provide ground cover for hedgehogs, frogs and toads, who will control your slug and snail population in return. If you’ve got the room for trees, go for varieties that provide shelter and a food source for birds, and you’ll be rewarded with lots of garden visitors who will feast on less desirable insects such as greenfly. Encouraging wildlife in an urban garden is also a lovely way to get children involved and interested in nature.