Having a garden in the city can be a challenge but the benefits are worth the effort! Gardening in urban areas is increasing in popularity as more people desire their own healthy, homegrown food and seek to lower their grocery bills. You will need to overcome the obstacles of having an adequate water supply and combat the radiant heat from paved surfaces but getting outside every day to tend your plants is a rewarding form of exercise. By following some proven practices, you can keep your urban garden going strong.
Plant in Containers
It’s unlikely you have access to a patch of earth in the city so create your own by using containers for your plants. The advantage of container gardening is that the pots are easy to move around. Vegetables and herbs grow wonderfully in containers as many of them are compact and produce a nice harvest. Give your plants ample space to grow in the containers so they don’t become crowded and stunted.
Use Proper Soil
The location of your urban garden determines the soil you need. Soil from the ground isn’t a good choice for your urban container garden. Use potting soil instead. Potting soil is lighter, drains better and is formulated to prevent weeds from growing. If your urban garden is in a plot of earth outside somewhere, make sure the soil drains well and has the proper nutrients. A larger urban garden can require more frequent weeding which is good exercise. If weeding isn’t your favorite form of fitness though, stick to container gardening.
Provide Adequate Sun
Most vegetables require full sun and enough water to keep the soil moist. Full sun doesn’t mean blazing heat though and plants can get fried in excessively high temperatures. Heat in the city is amplified as it radiates off pavement and other hard surfaces so closely monitor the condition of your plants. Periodic time in the shade can keep your plants healthier.
Water But Don’t Drown
Plants need water to survive so be sure you provide enough. Vegetables require soil that is moist. In order to keep the moist but not flooded, it has to drain properly. Make sure your containers have holes in the bottom for the excess water to drain. Balconies and rooftops get extremely hot and dry so watering every day can be required. These trips from the water supply to your plants to keep them going strong is also healthy for you as it provides a reason for daily physical activity.
Feed Your Plants
Plants need food to survive and they don’t receive it from ordinary gardening or potting soil. For container gardening, use potting soil with fertilizer in it or add in your own. A larger garden requires fertilizer right when you plant. The fertilizer needs to be mixed throughout your soil to provide ample nutrients. Provide additional fertilizer every couple weeks to keep your plants healthy and fed.
Keep Your Containers in Reach
If you’re planting in hanging baskets, place them at a height that makes them easy to water. Taking them down periodically to check the soil and add more fertilizer is good exercise but bringing them down every day can become tedious.
Urban gardening requires patience and perseverance. The rewards are a healthier, more natural food supply for you and daily motivation to get outside for physical activity. Start out small with your garden and as you become comfortable growing and maintaining your plants, add on a bit more each season. Soon you’ll have an urban garden to be proud of and inspiration to live a healthier, more active lifestyle.