5 Steps To Starting An Urban Garden

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Apparently starting an urban garden has become all the rage and I love it!

When I shared a glimpse of my balcony urban garden on IG, I was surprised at how many of you reached out wanting tips on how to start an urban garden of your own.

how to start an urban garden
pic balconygardenweb.com

If I would have known folks were interested in this I would have shared how to start an urban garden ages ago as this isn't a new practice for me its actually a little hobby. Every place i've lived since I moved out on my own has had some form of urban garden. 

Some years are better than others and what i've grown has changed but i'm supper happy to share how to start an urban garden with you all!



I started gardening early on as a kid with my mom, we had a little bit of space on the side of our home that we used for planting. It was a tradition that suck with me which is part of the reason why I still do it now.

WHY START AN URBAN GARDEN

There are plenty of reasons why you should start an urban garden but here are my top 3

1) Family time

It's a great way to spend time with your littles. You get to be outside, they get to play in the dirt, you can sneak in some lessons about the importance of planting your own food or responsibility and pride in their work since they will be helping raise the crops.

It's a win win.

2) It taste better

Have you ever had fresh out the ground food...I mean just plucked fresh.
SUPER FRESH.

It taste so much better.

3) Control what goes in your body

This may be the best benefit, while growing your own you have no worries about pesticides or other chemicals, you can make your own compost.
You have complete control. 

HOW TO START AN URBAN GARDEN

The outline you have all been waiting for.

1) Pick your space

First thing first is to figure out where you're going to put your garden. Will it be built up on your balcony? Will you grow herbs in your windowsill? Will you go a little bigger and grab a plot of land at a community garden? 

Space is one of the biggest deciding factors in how the next steps of building your garden will play out.

2) Select your plants

Once you figure out the space you will be working with you can better decide what plants you will grow. 

If all you have is a windowsill there is no need to go grab seeds for corn. 

Also if this is your first time taking a stab at growing your own fruits or vegetables, you may want to stick with some of the easier crops like lettuce, garlic, potatoes, peas and cucumbers. 

Fun fact you can actually grow lettuce from the stem of lettuce you purchased from the store. Basil and cilantro can also be regrown from clippings.

3) Find your planters + soil

There are many different options for planting your crops. 

In the past i've used recycled wine boxes as seen in the pic of my balcony from 2016.

how to start an urban garden

I've also planted directly in the ground, for this you'll need to ensure your soil is appropriate for plants and do a fair amount of readying it. My favorite way to plant thus far has been the wine boxes mainly for the visual.

But there are so many different options, especially if you have a small space or want to get creative. Cinder blocks, hanging shoe holders and more, take a look at some examples below. 

Just keep in mind when planting that whatever "potted option" you use it has drainage as soil that retains too much water can kill your plants.

Also look into moisture controlled soil =)

how to start an urban garden


how to start an urban garden

4) Grow vertical + give space

When you start an urban garden 9 time out of 10 you wont have much space to take up, so planting things far apart or all over the place isn't an option. 

This is where you get crafty in "giving space" for your crops to grow. 

how to start an urban garden


The best thing to do is grow up. Ensure that your plants are maybe planted in levels or that planters are stacked so you can maximize space.

Another great idea is to tie tall growing plants to standing gate or railing that way you can dictate the direction and where the plant will grow.

5) Water well

But not too much...but def enough.

how to start an urban garden


I can not stress this enough, learn your plants preferred watering schedule...or should I say soil conditions.

Then when the hot summer months approach make sure to check your plants daily, sometimes twice a day. Because even though plants do need hours of direct sunlight, they can dry up, wilt and die quickly in the summer heat.

QUICK GARDENING TIPS


how to start an urban garden

-Plant what you will actually use

Don't over do it, I know having a lush garden with dozens of plants is a beautiful. But what are you going to do with bunches and bunches of radishes sis when you don't even eat them!?

-Plant things in groups that will grow well together

For example with herbs sage, rosemary and thyme all do well in fairly dry soil. So potting them together would not be an issue. However, if you were to add basil to that same pot which needs more moisture you could run into issues when trying to keep them alive all at once.

Plant the below groups together if you wish...since they're friends.

Group 1: Cilantro, Basil, Tarragon, Parsley

Group 2: Thyme, Oregano, Lavender, Rosemary, Sage

-Mint does not like friends

It's a bully lol it does not do well with other plants and will over grow/dominate you planting space.

Keep that hoe to herself.

-Pay attention to your seed packs directions

I can't stress this point enough as well. Those little packets will give you SO MUCH info, read them before you buy your seeds.

You can learn how long it will take for the plants to grow, when you should start planting (aka if you missed the planting window in your region), what conditions they need and if you need to start them indoors.

All from that little packet.


how to start an urban garden

-Don't be afraid to fake it till you make it

Not everyone (even me at times) is good at starting plants off and sometimes it can just come down to your environment and the growing conditions. In any case, don't feel obligated to grow a plant from a seed. There is no shame in getting a pre grown, mature plant and putting it in the ground.

-Have patience

This is a marathon not a sprint.

Gardening is a process from planting, to care, to harvesting (notice the steps before the harvest lol) So you have to be in it for the long haul. There are some crops that you could plant the seed in April and not harvest until July.

Matter of fact if you are the type that likes to sprint you may want to refer to the point above as starting with pre grown plants may be the BEST thing you can do, especially for plants like tomatoes or peppers which need a good amount of time to mature

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask and if you start an urban garden of your own be sure to tag me in a picture on instagram so I can see it!

Until Next Time,
XO Deanna 

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