Urban Garden Tips

Making Small Spaces Count!

Urban dwellers can satisfy their green thumb with some creative tips that we have gathered to share with our readers.A small space can still offer a place to grow food or just to enjoy the natural beauty of plants and flowers. Creative options include rooftop gardens, container gardening, and hydroponics. Many communities are coming together to create community havens, gardens supplying both beauty and food for their own neighborhoods.

Planning your garden:
In a small space,It is important to plan carefully to create the most efficient and pleasing design. Using the zen principles, think simple and with symmetry. Avoid looking cluttered and unorganized. Use similar plants and materials. Take time to sketch or draw your plans. Take photographs of your deck or patio with you to the nursery while shopping. If you have unpleasant views or curious neighbors, you can plan to add height where needed. Once you have an outline of your plan, take time to research the plants you have chosen. Are they native to your area, or will they need special care and maintenance. Do you have time in your schedule to maintain your garden plan? If not, then perhaps consider a simpler and smaller plan would be more supportive to your life style.

Containers and Small Design ideas
Containers offer such a great advantage to urban gardeners. You can grow a large variety of plants outside, and then move them indoors when the weather compromises them. You also have the flexibility of moving the containers around to follow the sunlight, and to change location as desired. Hanging pots and containers, as well as using shelving will give you plenty of vertical design space, and offer height for privacy. Select the containers and plants that will offer compliment your overall interior design. Ceramic, clay and terracotta pots as well as wooden planters will set a theme. Raised beds can be utilized for easier reach and for great visual effect.

Some additional garden techniques are Square Foot Gardening and the Japanese Tomato Ring, both methods designed to produce high yields with limited space. “Square Foot Gardening” is a new theory developed by Mel Bartholomew that is specifically designed to grow a thriving garden in less space than traditional gardens, with fewer resources and significantly less environmental impact.. To learn more about this inventive new gardening method, check out the official site for Square Foot Gardening.

The Japanese Tomato Ring is another unusual growing technique that one gardener claims can produce as many as 600 tomatoes per plant every year. The Japanese Tomato Ring was supposedly developed by a postman in Charleston, South Carolina in the 1960s. The technique is based on the postman’s own design and curiously has nothing to do with Japan. There are lots of great articles and videos to learn more. Here is one on YouTube https://youtu.be/WU8_fShNN2Q

Pest Control:
Urban living brings neighbors close, so your garden may easily impact those around you.

If you are planting indoors, your health can be impacted by the products you use such as pesticides and fertilizers, especially with poor ventilation. Use the most natural pest control methods available, such as citrus based products. Container gardening makes it much easier to separate and treat sick plants. Use compost and healthy soil to reduce your problems. Use plants native to your area and those that are known to be pest resistant. Change out soil where diseased plants are found.

Companion planting will promote pest control, such as garlic protecting roses. Welcome helpful insects such as ladybugs.

Plant Recommendations

Flowers: Tulip bulbs, Begonia, Daffodils, Lantana, Zinnias, Petunias, Echinacea, Portulaca, Lilly of the Nile, Black-eyed Susans

Trees and Shrubs: Japanese Maple, Dwarf Apple, Crape Myrtles, Bougainvilleas

Fruits and Vegetables: Cucumbers, Radishes, Carrots (miniature), Squash-zucchini, Tomatoes, Peas and Beans, Figs

Herbs: Basil, Parsley, Thyme, Sage, Rosemary, Oregano

By Renae Jensen