One of the most cost effective ways of sustaining ourselves is by raising our own crops. Unfortunately, many of us are urbanites, which means we lack the necessary land to provide 100 percent of our fruits, grains, and vegetables. However, this shouldn’t stop us from growing what we can in the spaces we have. Here are some tips for maximizing the yield from your urban garden.
If we’ve learned anything from urban living it’s this: You have to grow “up”, not “out”. Vertical growing is an excellent way to take advantage of the limited spaces often associated with urban living, and will help you realize comparatively large yields of your favorite herbs, spices, fruits, and veggies.
Here’s how it works. Whether you have a small patio, a skinny side-yard, or a tiny balcony, you can turn that limited space into a real garden. Plants like tomatoes, beans, and peas love to grow vertically. With even modest help from twine, trellises, frames, stakes, or lattice work, each of these plants will attempt to climb to the sky. Every vertical foot in your garden is one less horizontal foot you have to worry about, and with even moderate support of the various branches—easily accommodated with string or twist-ties—your plants will grow as many vertical feet as you can manage to provide.
Box ‘Em In
Grow boxes and “planters” are perfect for limited space. This is primarily true because they are readily available in the gardening department of your local home improvement store. You can also make them by hand to fit your particular space. Grow boxes can also be used for vertical growing. However, they really great for things like herbs like parsley, oregano, and chives, or for a wide variety of peppers including jalapenos, habaneros, and serranos.
If you’ve never grown your own fresh herbs or spicy peppers, this is a great way to grow them. They don’t require a lot of space, many perform very well in limited sunlight, and can even be grown in smaller pots placed indoors on a window ledge. The first time you pluck some fresh basil leaves, or grab a hot pepper or two to complement your meal, you’ll wonder why you never took the time to grow these great little culinary delights.
Turn That Frown Upside-Down
If you have limited space but always wanted to grow the best tomatoes you’ve ever tasted, then consider hanging some tomato plants from a deck or even a tree. Easy to locate in the garden center of your favorite store, these amazing tomato plants—often marketed under the name Topsy Turvey Planters—use gravity to actually grow down instead of up! Just a few of these amazing plants can provide you and your family with months of fresh tomatoes. You can even can them for later use.
Don’t let your limited space limit your gardening ideas. Think vertical, think pots and planters, and think gravity. This will have you taking full advantage of the various quirky spaces around your condo, townhouse, hi-rise, flat. The results will not only amaze you, you’ll also be rewarded with the freshest, best-tasting produce imaginable!