City life isn’t always a walk in the park, and when it is, that park can have more concrete than grass. But with the rise of urban gardening, more and more city inhabitants are enjoying the benefits of living with plants, from growing their own food to enjoying elevated mental well-being.
If you’re considering whether or not you should embark on this project, the answer is: absolutely! That’s because urban gardens are designed to adapt to any limitations of your space. We’ll cover the two common forms of urban gardening, the benefits of growing your own plants in a city, tips to set you and your garden up for success, and the importance of automatic irrigation.
You’ll be enjoying the benefits of urban gardening for yourself in no time. Planning and planting start now!
What Is Urban Gardening?
Urban gardening is exactly what it sounds like: it’s the practice of growing plants in an urban environment. But beyond this simple definition, urban gardens actually come in many different forms, from backyard gardens to vertical farms, to tactical street vegetation, such as gardens that fill the space where you might otherwise find a parked car. (That’s one less alarm to go off in the middle of the night!)
The most common types of urban gardening are container gardening and rooftop gardening. Container gardening is the practice of lining small patios, yards, and balconies with containers such as buckets, raised beds, and window boxes. This allows for smaller plants to grow within the soil of their containers, reducing mess and allowing the rest of these spaces to be used for other purposes, such as featuring outdoor furniture and grills. You might find that these additions make it even easier to enjoy some much-needed time outside with your planted vegetation.
Rooftop gardening is the process of transforming the roof of a building into a lush growing space by filling garden beds with soil. This type of gardening is typically used for vegetables and larger plants.
Small Urban Garden, Big Benefits
No matter what form of urban gardening you choose, the benefits are well worth the labor of getting those seeds in the soil and watching them grow. Here’s just a few reasons why urban gardening can help you and your space thrive.
Grow Your Own Food
Urban gardens can increase food security, reduce the costs of living, and increase the level of nutrition in your daily life. Urban areas often face the constant issue of food deserts, which are areas in which healthy food is either not available or not affordable to an area’s inhabitants. By growing and harvesting your own fresh and nutritious food, you open up better access for yourself (and, if you choose, your neighbors) at a fraction of the same produce’s cost in a grocery store.
Make the Most of Your Space
For all of its restaurants, nightlife, and resources, almost everything in a city is, well, smaller—and this especially applies to your living space. The secret to urban gardening is embarking on this process in harmony with your space. By strategically growing your garden in spaces that would otherwise be unused, you can add lushness to your living space and better utilize the entire surface area of your planting area.
Bring More Nature (and Health) to City Life
You might live in a city and not in a house in the suburbs, but with urban gardening, your space can still house a considerable amount of vegetation. This is a really good thing because having plants around is actually a matter of health and well-being. Plants produce oxygen, absorb toxins from the air, can be used as herbal remedies, and generally help to improve mental health.
Five Urban Garden Tips for Best Results
These simple tips are designed to guide you through the process of building and maintaining the right urban garden for your needs and space. Get ready to set you and your plants up for some serious success! Your garden will be blooming in no time.
Tip #1: Start Small
This might sound funny since most urban gardens aren’t exactly abundant with space, but: start small! The best way to get a sustainable garden going for the long haul is to focus on a few key areas, such as one corner of a patio or one side of a rooftop. Then, fill these key areas with appropriately-sized containers or garden beds to set yourself up for success. Chances are you’ll find that just a few containers make a world of difference. Once you master these areas, you can always add more vegetation to your space.
Tip #2: Choose the Right Plants for You and Your Space
Now that you’ve figured out where you want your urban garden to go, it’s time to choose the right plants for those containers. Consider plants that are well-suited to your containers’ sizes, as some plants need more room for their roots to spread than others. Also keep in mind how much sunlight, wind, and rain your chosen space receives. Finally, determine the goal of your urban garden. Are you looking to grow fresh food, or are you simply hoping to beautify your space? All of these factors will help you select the perfect plants for your soon-to-be thriving urban garden.
Tip #3: Utilize Vertical Space
Urban gardens are all about making the most out of your space’s limitations. But no matter what space you’re using to get growing, it’s beneficial to think about, well, building up. Utilizing vertical space allows you to grow even more with the help of trellises, hanging baskets, or wall-mounted planters.
Tip #4: Invest in Nutrient-Rich Soil
Soil is the foundation of any successful garden, but unfortunately, most of the soil that you’re likely to find in the city is not the best quality. Give your plants a big nutrient-rich boost by investing in good-quality soil. And once you’ve got that foundation started, you can even start adding your own compost to the dirt to help your plants grow lusher.
Tip #5: Prevent Pests
Pests in urban gardening can be especially detrimental to your plants because they can more easily take over small spaces. Prevent this issue by using natural pesticides such as neem oil in your urban garden. If you do see any pests moving in, it’s best to act quickly to keep your plants safe.
The Key to Maintaining an Urban Garden: Irrigation!
Now that you’ve identified the space for your urban garden, metaphorically (or literally) nailed its containers, selected the right plants and soil, and are all set to prevent pests, it’s time to talk about the most important part of maintaining your new project: water!
In a small, urban space, it can be challenging to water your plants manually, especially if you live a busy lifestyle, are often away from home and is sometimes unable to gauge how environmental factors have affected your garden throughout the day.
The best way to sustainably maintain an urban garden is with an automatic irrigation system like the OtO device. Because it sprays from one unit and doesn’t require in-ground plumbing, this genius feature is easy to install on any roof, patio, or urban surface. Plus, its smart technology uses real-time local and regional weather, windspeed, humidity, and temperature data to actively adjust its schedule and deliver the perfect amount of water to your garden.
And just like that, you’re ready to get growing. Here’s to fresher air, healthier food, and more peaceful city living.