City life makes gardening seem out of the question. If you live in an apartment and don’t have access to a yard you might think you can’t grow a garden this summer. However, there are actually many ways to grow a garden in your house or on a back patio. Here are a bunch of ideas that I have wanted to try that might work for you. In fact, I challenge you to take one or two of these ideas and try them yourself. Help others learn from your experience by sharing in the comments below which one you are going to try and then come back and tell us how it went. Next year our urban gardeners will have a better idea of which ones to try. If you have any other ideas that are not mentioned here, please add your ideas in the comments and I will add them to the list.
1. Find a spot of dirt. I lived in Korea for 2 years and I would always see Korean grandmas planting a garden in the middle of the city in a gap between the sidewalk and street. Really, anywhere there was a patch of dirt they would garden it and put up a little fence around it. Find a your spot of dirt. Get permission if you can, if not put a sign in the ground that says (City Name) Garden Initiative 204.04. That should work. You can ask around and see if you can find a spot to garden in someone’s yard, church’s grounds. Just be creative.
2. Community Garden. Often there is a designated area for a community garden. Go and join in the group. See this website, http://www.communitygarden.org/index.php. It will direct you as to how to get started in your specific community garden. Start your own community garden. Watch this TED talk by Ron Finley for inspiration.
3. Sprouts. You can sprout seeds in your window all year long in a jar with some mesh as a lid. I went and bought some window screen material and cut some squares out. The purpose of the mesh lid is to be able to drain the water out and keep the seeds in. Sprouts are one of the most nutritious foods you can eat. There is a ton of life energy that is unleashed when a seed sprouts. You can make green drinks and salads with them. I bought The Sprouting Book: How to Grow and Use Sprouts to Maximize Your Health and Vitality
from Amazon. It gives you all the benefits to sprouting, the ‘how to’ info to get started, lists the vitamins that is in each seed, and even gives you recipes for how to eat sprouts. The sprouts I found to be more the most successful were wheat sprouts, lentil sprouts, and bean sprouts.
4. Hydroponics. Hydroponics is similar to sprouting but even better. With hydroponics you can grow actual plants like lettuce, tomatoes, and spinach. This would only work if you had a large enough space in your house. An easy way I have seen this done is with a fish tank next to a window. You have to add the plant nutrients to the water and the roots grow down into the water. The plants float on top with a Styrofoam board that has holes cut in and baskets to hold the plants up.
5. Aquaponics. Like hydroponics, you would need a large space in your house for the tank. Aquaponics is like hydroponics but it uses live fish to give the plant the nutrients it needs. The water from the fish tank filters through a bed of gravel where bacteria and plant roots clean the water for the fish. It is an awesome system. You feed the fish the fish waste feeds the plants and the plants clean the water for the fish. I am going to be building an aquaponics system in the next couple of weeks. I bought this backyard liberty how-to video and ebook. I have read many books on aquaponics and after watching this I am going to build my own aquaponics system. This video and ebook really lays out each step so it is easy to do. I am an affiliate for this product because it is the most inexpensive way to do aquaponics and is explained very well. When you click on this link a video will start playing. It is over the top, extreme in my mind but the product is good. If you get this product through this link, then I will earn a commission that will help support the blog. Click here if you are interested in learning more.
6. All New Square Foot Gardening. SFG is a great way to grow plants on a patio or porch. You can build a little grow box for your patio. You can use 2×6 boards and make a 1’ x 4’ box or what ever size for which you have space. Put a bottom on the box and drill holes for drainage. Buy a bag of potting mix and your set. You could even terrace boxes up steps and grow the plants up your railing. If you don’t want to build a box you can buy a garden pot.
7. Topsy Turvy Tomato Planter. You can buy a kit on Amazon and you plant the tomato upside down in the planter and hang it up. The tomato grows down and I have read if you water it twice a day the tomatoes are more prolific than traditional planted tomatoes.
8. Milk Crate Gardening. Simmilar to SFG you just put potting soil and plant a potato in a milk crate and as the potato grows you add another crate on top with more soil and as the potato plant grows up you get more and more potatoes. You can also use tires.
9. Straw Bale Gardening. The great thing about straw bale gardening is you can put the straw bale garden in anywhere there is good sun. You can put it in an extra parking spot, on your patio, or on the side of your apartment complex. It is the equivalent of raised bed gardening but with a biodegradable bed that turns in to compost in a year or two. Pretty much you use a straw bale and plant in it. Make a hole and add some potting mix to plant your seeds. The benefits are that there are no weeds and that you don’t have to build a box.
10. Rain gutter in windowsills. Buy some rain gutters. Put the end caps on it. Make sure it can drain and has something underneath to catch the water. You could grow herbs, spinach, lettuce and other small plants on the inside of your windowsill.
Authored by Steven Cooper Google