Do you dream in green but have no yard to speak of? It’s a common problem and sometimes the most eager gardeners are apartment dwellers. Living in a city shouldn’t stop you from planting to your heart’s content, though! Here are our top 10 ideas for urban gardens.
1. Find a community garden – Just because you don’t have land doesn’t mean there isn’t some nearby. Search around online for a community garden near you.
2. Buy containers – As long as you have a light source and a little determination, you can grow almost anything in a container.
3. Choose plastic pots – If you’re making a container garden, choose plastic pots instead of terra cotta. They lose water less quickly.
4. Build up – Plants don’t just have to be on the ground. You can grow squash, cucumbers, or even tomatoes up a wall or railing. You can also mount small pots or grow bags on a wall (A wooden pallet turned on its end is great for this).
5. Hang down – Put some hooks in your ceiling above south-facing windows to catch the light. Or hang planters from your windowsill. Gravity is your friend.
6. Stick to potting soil – If you’re planting in containers, buy potting soil specifically for the job. The stuff marketed as garden soil is lacking in nutrients and drains poorly, and dirt from outside may be full of bacteria and chemicals.
7. Mulch – Containers, especially outdoor ones, dry out very fast. Apply a 3-inch layer of mulch to all your potted plants to cut down on watering needs.
8. Water smart – Remember that you’ll have to water more often if your plants are outdoors in the sun, but not if they’re indoors. And make sure to put saucers under every pot to save your floors and pedestrians below.
9. Go to the roof – Do you have (legal) access to your building’s roof? City apartments get notoriously low light, but rooftops are usually open to the sun. Just be mindful of weight – containers of soil and water can get heavy fast, and the last thing you want is a collapse!
10. Try mushrooms – If you’re truly starved for light, try growing plants that don’t need it. Buy a mushroom growing kit or get some spores and start from scratch!