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Being an Urban Gardener: Dealing with a lack of space

Posted on Nov 2, 2015

One of the major problems of modern gardening, besides air pollution, is lack of habitat. Still, there is a set of solutions directed at growing a much greener future. Urban gardening provides many benefits, such as fighting air pollution, relieving stress and providing fresh food. Since 20% of undernourished people live in cities, it is also an efficient way of fighting hunger. However, there are many challenges an urban gardener is facing and one of them is lack of space. However, this should be no reason to give up on this noble and rewarding job. Here are a few tips on how to give your small unused space a big green purpose.

Grow Up: Vertical Gardening

 

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Vertical structures are ideal for an urban garden. They minimize the used space, while maximizing the growth potential. In vertical gardening an assortment of supporting structures is being used to help plants grow upwards instead of out. An additional benefit of a garden growing upwards is that it can camouflage unattractive structures, such as old fences, wires, etc, and provide privacy and shade. There are many edibles ideal for vertical gardening. Among them are tomatoes (especially cherry ones), melons, winter squash, cucumbers, potatoes, greens, etc. For decorative purposes, you can use petunias and various climbers.

Think Inside the Box: Shipping Container Gardening

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This could change the way we think about producing food and growing plants forever. By using LED lights instead of sunlight, people can grow plants all year round. Turning shipping containers into urban farms is a great way to have fresh food every season and to contribute to environment. You can buy new or used containers at retailers such as Royal Wolf and start your own miniature farm. Depending on the space you have at disposal you can choose different dimensions and find different places to keep your container. If you have limited outdoor space, you can opt for traditional container gardening – growing plants in tubs, pots and half barrels. Here, you will need an adequate sun exposure and the right weather conditions.

Rise and Shine: Raised Bed Gardening

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If you have sufficient space to use raised beds for gardening, they will pay you back tenfold. The city soil is not always appropriate for vegetables growth, and a raised bed garden can be useful for solving poor soil and drainage issues. Some of the advantages this kind of gardening can offer are the extended growing season, free choice of location (regardless of soil quality), excellent drainage, easier weeding, not a single square is unused, etc. Because you do not want to clutter, your already small space, raised beds are perfect for creating clean and tidy aesthetics.

Strengthen the Relationships: Community Gardens

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Many people inhabiting urban areas do not have any space available for gardening. Still, the lack of a south facing window, balcony or yard, should not discourage you from growing your own plants. A community garden is a great way to plant food, while building and improving relationships with neighbors. If there are no community gardens near you, consider starting one. All you need is to find a vacant lot or a building rooftop and enthusiastic neighbors. Since learning how to grow vegetables and other plants is a process, it will surely be much easier when there are more people involved. Who knows, maybe one of your neighbors is an experienced gardener eager to share his experience with friends? A community garden is a great way of involving kids into food production. Collective gardening may even be the legacy you will leave to the children of your community.

Hopefully, we have made a world richer for one more urban garden. Remember that regardless of which type of urban gardening you decide on, you should be strategic when it comes to choosing the plants and fertilizers.

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